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Once more unto the breach, dear friends - I promise after reviewing this, Carcass's swansong album called ... "Swansong", what a surprise! ... I won't be doing any more full-length Carcass studio album reviews. The band changed its style considerably after the "Heartwork" recording and what is on offer here is an almost poppy-sounding and quite accessible work with only Jeff Walker's hoarse vocals the only reminder of what the band had once been. The speed of most songs is surprisingly relaxed and stays that way throughout the tracks and the rhythm is usually bouncy. The general sound is steely and shows no indication of the huge twin-guitar monolith it had once been. Of all Carcass's albums, this is the one you'd recommend most to your non-metal friends: the metal is dominated by extended melodic lead guitar solo fretboarding that has none of the squealy and sometimes restless electric splats of early albums; and the lyrics contain much social, cultural and political criticism (which in hindsight seems odd as Walker was to spend several years working as a civil servant after giving up music). Had Carcass continued after this recording and made another studio album, then on the strength of the music here, I guess the band would pass into a post-metal, urban blues phase and comparisons with bands like Caina and Lifelover who among other things have dealt with struggling to find one's place and purpose in a post-industrial, urban nightmare might be possible.
"Keep on Rotting in the Free World" sets the tone for the rest of the album to follow with brisk, business-like riffs and rhythms, twin lead-guitar solos and the occasional distinctive bass melody; it's obvious that all members of the band have advanced a great deal in their musical skills to the extent that each can deviate slightly from the main rhythmic structures of the song and play solo if he wanted. "Tomorrow belongs to Nobody" has a slight blues touch in parts and I daresay there's a Judas Priest influence throughout the song. The only problem is that Walker's vocals are very restricted in range due in part to the lyrics which can be dense and to his style of half-chanting / half-speaking which limits emotional expression to disgust, exasperation or sarcasm. I know Walker meant well adopting a sardonic stance when he wrote the lyrics but on most songs he uses both first-person and second-person viewpoints and this in itself gives the songs the nature of a harangue or scolding; there's no sense that he as observer or narrator has a personal stake in the downfall of society, except when he takes on the role of a plutocrat rejoicing in manipulating a gullible public, or that he sympathises with people's problems.
As the album continues, the catchy tunes and riffs falter a bit, technical virtuosity starts filling in the potential void and the band's style starts to sound a bit generic. Some strong riffing is present in "Child's Play" and a bit of the old Carcass from previous albums creeps in at times with changes in pace throughout the song. "Firm Hand" has very urgent driving riffs and rhythms that push the song along and give it energy. "R**k the Vote" expresses cynicism about Western liberal democracies' commitment to freedom and individualism as values and how paying lip service to democracy masks a drive towards conformity and suppression of opinion.
The final track "Go to Hell" which ends Carcass's career in the studio has an ambiguous message which is either extremely pessimistic or actually liberating, depending on how you look at it: you can see it as resignation, wallowing in sin because redemption is impossible anyway; or rejecting conventional ideas about Heaven and Hell, turning them the two polarities into their direct opposites and going to Hell in as defiant a way as possible. Look at the problem this way: we're all going to die in the end so we may as well choose the mode of our death and if possible die spectacularly and take as many of the bastards oppressing us as possible (especially if they don't want to die).
While some songs are enjoyable and have very catchy rock'n'roll tunes and rhythms, these tend to be bunched up near the start of the album and as the album progresses, a jaded quality creeps in and there's a lack of spark in later tracks. The style can be brutal in parts but it needs aggression to back it up and Walker is too busy churning through the lyrics to give time and thought to injecting some real anger and outrage in his delivery. For an album so strongly critical of current Western society and the way it controls people's expression, the music lacks zest and quite a few songs come across as filler. (That could have been deliberate on the band's part but I don't know.) I rate "Swansong" the weakest of Carcass's albums but of course what is weak for these guys would be seismic for others.
Sadly, 'Swansong' wasn't a prophecy of things to come, but more like an announcement; Carcass had changed their name to Blackstar already before this album was published. Actually the album was recorded under the name Carcass because of a record deal. Swansong for the one of truly influential death/grind bands.
While still having their roots firmly in grind/death metal, when simply put, 'Swansong' is Carcass's heavy metal album. The band ripped all "extra" off of their metal, most likely metal production and some flashiest playing, but that does not mean this is to-trash-bin material, no! Michael Amott left to start Spiritual Beggars and Arch Enemy and maybe his departure caused the band to step into this direction, more or less. There's no really fast songs, but mid-paced and slower groove-outs. Groove? Yes, this truly grooves like no tomorrow, but not so called "James Brown way". Rocking might be the better word for this thing, that makes my head bang/feet tap/hands hit me knees. Choruses and riffs are mostly infectious as Black Death the disease, but some material needs more time, which is not a bad thing at all. Many of these are straightest songs from the band. More NWOBHM elements have been worked into Carcass' music. Grind is surely something, that can't be heard on this one anymore. This is still so Carcass, that this sounds the logical next step for the band. But when Bill Steer left and band changed their name to Blackstar, it was the only logical step to do, too. Sadly. 'Don't Believe a Word' is a song I've never liked that much and cutting it off would have make this more tight package. Even if this was hurried, I still think it rocks.
'Swansong' was produced by Colin Richardson. The sound is raw, dry, more intimate. Organic and live are the words I like to use and they totally fit with this. So, while making their music easier, so to speak, sound-wise it is not so easy at all. Everything is very audible, in your face kinda way. The band is incredible: Drummer Ken Owen had a truly individual style going from simple, hard-hitting beat to tasty use of his kit in the way only he did. Jeff Walker's bass is as loud as guitars and his voice is as dry, raspy and brutal "growling" as before, sounding totally wicked with this kind of metal! Some people can't get it, I surely can. Guitarists Steer and Carlo Regadas (ex-Devoid) perform tightly, sometimes there's this slight showing off, which is fine by me, mostly in the vein of memorable solos, but guitars also shriek and in my book this is only plus. Cover art is nice and quite disturbing, even though not the old gory way. Lyrics, which are great, are printed. Black humour is very much present, gore things not, since the lyrical themes circle around modern, shitty society.
Just like 'Heartwork E.P.'s (1993) extra songs predicted, Carcass became more rocking metal. Do not let that make you skip this album, which is a nice piece of not so total extremity. Death rock? Or rocking death? Fuck it, it is Carcass!!! R.I.P.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2003)
Disappointment. There’s a word you might use to describe this album upon immediately hearing it. Some ‘closer minded’ fans screamed upon hearing this and promptly headed for the nearest incinerator. Was this the right reaction to give?
I am glad to report the answer is NO, and a great big fucking no at that.
This isn't the Carcass you know, but it still has their creativity charisma, and arse-kicking riffage. The production is fantastic as well, the guitars are clean yet diggable, the bass is smooth and refined. Just because Carcass have bridged the gap into a sort of 'Deathrock' doesn't mean Ken Owen is afraid to unleash his full potential - the drum patterns are pleasingly complex and add well to the album. Here’s something you might find amusing – Columbia Records suggested Jeff took singing lessons for the album, well thank FUCK he didn’t. As much as I love Walker has a vocalist, asking him to actually SING? That would be like fronting a black metal band with Elton John.
Another huge revelation are the lyrics – Even though in Heartwork the hilllariously sick Gore and Medical lyrics were gone, but I'm pretty sure they started making even less sense in that album, to me at least... In Swansong the lyrics are (generally) meaningful, reflecting on the mid nineties political and social issues.
Lets talk about the songs, they have such a groove to them, pretty easy listening for the most part. Blackstar for example, is pretty slow (for Carcass at least) but it has the perfect hooks and sure to get your feet tapping. Rock the Vote is probably my favourite song on the album with a real feeling of energy and adrenaline rushing through the whole song, pounding till the end where one of the best solos I’ve ever heard comes into play, Steer CLEARLY gave his best. Another good song I’d like to mention is ‘Keep on Rotting in the Free World’. The bass presence is fantastic, it fits just under the guitars and plays some pretty mean shit that you budding bassists might have been longing for.
And unlike most albums, there isn’t really a duff song on the entire album! I admit, some of the songs have untapped potential, (Room 101) and could have benefited with a few more tempo changes, a couple of fast section wouldn’t have hurt the album. Yet they are still written to a dizzyingly high standard.
Don't get me wrong, this album wasn't exactly what anyone expected it to be, but these songs are growers, they creep in around in the back of your head till you can resist no longer, and find yourself slotting it into the tray for another listen. Ignore the haters; if this album had been released by another band without Carcass’ roots, it would have got a higher score. Highly recommended, but I suggest you buy Carcass’ other masterpieces first if you appreciate extreme metal.
Album Highlights : Keep on Rotting in the Free World, Rock the Vote, Polarised
Carcass's Swansong alienated many, it was yet another gear-shift from a band who had changed styles repeatedly. But this, for most hardcore Carcass fans, was one shift too far away from their initial template. Criticisms of this album kept me away from it for years, which is odd as the albums that turn the fanbase tend to be some of my favorites (Spheres, Diatribes, Wolverine Blues, Chaos A.D.) for the simple reason that they were accessible right when I was first discovering metal. I also dig change. I don't want to hear the same album over and over again. I want bands to step out and challenge themselves. If the music is still good, I will support it. And the music on Swansong is fantastic.
"Keep On Rotting In The Free World" sets the stage, expanding on the slower moments from Heartwork and ladening them with even bigger hooks, meaty riffs, dazzling solos, even some cowbell. Yes, it rocks in a more traditional sense but it is far from the sell-out I had imagined. This song would drain the blood out of any mainstream AOR junkie. Ditto, "R**k The Vote," you wouldn't know it was Carcass except that it is so obviously Carcass once the double-bass and Jeff's snarling rasp kick in. There's melody, harmony, dissonance, crushing heaviness -- the perfect recipe for a kick-ass metal record. Carcass masters the template, much as they did earlier with both goregrind and melodic death metal .
Carcass are toying with their non-grind influences here, mainly NWOBHM filtered through some T-Rex/Thin Lizzy; add a dash of Sabbath and a heaping helping of Helmet (I'm thinking the opening riff to "Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody" in particular) and you get the majority of Swansong. It's a huge sound and it feels logical, a perfect extension out of Heartwork's best moments. The riffs are big, epic even; the hooks are razor sharp; and the vocals are vile. Had Jeff Walker recorded the clean vocals he had been pressured to use or had the riffs been less dirty, well then, maybe I would feel a little different. But songs like "Firm Hand" and "Polarized" are nasty little numbers, pure metal evil, with pummeling double bass and multi-faceted guitar playing.
The production on this record is superior, similar to Heartwork, fuller even. Cranked up, it's heavy as hell, enough to shake my speakers off their stands.
Every instrument sounds strong and crisp, with perfect separation. Jeff's bass playing is the most audible it has ever been, demonstrating that he does more than just follow the riffs. If I had to pick a perfectly recorded metal album, it might be this one. Colin Richardson really outdid himself. He's quickly become my favorite metal producer.
This album doesn't sound like any other Carcass album, but I can't think of any Carcass album which sounds like any other Carcass album, so whatever.
What does it sound like? 90s Megadeth, pretty much. Really, if someone would of scratched Dave Mustaine's car before he recorded the vocal tracks for Countdown to Extinction it would of sounded just like this. Slow down Countdown to Extinction, throw in some Thin Lizzy styled dual leads and groovy AC/DCish riffing and you get this album.
That said, I am pretty fond of 90s Megadeth, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, so this album isn't offensive to me as it may be to some of my truer friends.
I shall treat this album as a rock album then, and what is essential for a simple rock album to prevail, after catchy riffs and choruses, is a convincing frontman. Thankfully, Carcass have one. Jeff Walker is a charismatic and unique vocalist, and just like Dave Mustaine and Bon Scott managed to bring their bands above the average rock band with their entertaining, unique and charismatic vocal performance, this album remains entertaining due to Jeff Walker's vocals.
Why is the score only 79 then? For the same reason AC/DC are mostly a 'Greatest Hits' band. When playing simple mid tempo verse-chorus-verse rock for an entire album, you need some serious hooks on each and every song, and some of the songs here just aren't as catchy or as entertaining as the rest.
The album as a whole is okay if you don't have anything against fun rocking tunes, but there are some fillers here and there you would find yourself forgetting real quick and skipping.
So. Let's get this started with an honest statement. Carcass are easily one of my favorite bands of all time and the score I gave them is very painful for me to give to them. This album is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed melodic death metal/death n'roll album "Heartwork." Many people were expecting a similar album; technical, crushing, gripping, and catchy at times.
What they got was "Swansong." A delving into the more rock and roll side of "Heartwork." Notably, Bill Steer (easily the driving force of Carcass) was mellowing out with his playing style and writing which leads into this album. The album is more of an epitome of everything melodic in Carcass's music, even from the few bits of melody from the "Reek of Putrefaction" days.
It begins with a fairly rock n' rollish song, "Keep On Rottin' In the Free World" (clever play on words, eh? No). Even though the song title is horrendous and an obvious play on "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World" it shines through as one of the best tracks from the album, sadly. It has a very catchy chorus and the riffing in the verses is simple and rock and roll enough to catch a classic rock fan's attention. Then it dips really far down into the shit pool with "Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody." The tracks riffing is mostly boring renditions of the intro riff, with a noticeably blues rock riff coming in at about the 2 minute mark.
Then, it rises right back up in the first tracks "glory," with Black Star. Though some will say, and be right, that the song has infantile lyrics the riffing in the song is probably the best on Swansong. It combines the catchy edge with the start-stop riffing and manages to be heavy and technical enough to catch a "Heartwork" fan in its net. Alright, I'm not going to go into an entire play-by-play of this album, but those first three were a quick teaser of the basic template of the album. Good Song - Shit Song - Good Song, rinse and repeat.
The production on this album is similar to "Heartwork"'s production. Gritty and pulse-pounding, which is where so much of my score comes from. The production, as usual, lends itself well to Bill's rhythm playing, even if the rhythm tone is a bit grimey for my personal tastes.
The vocals are a let-down. Jeff suddenly decided "Hey, layered vocals suck!" or something, because he abandoned the amazing vocal layerings on "Heartwork" for a more simple single track vocal melody. Another problem, as with the previous album, is that Bill Steer makes no appearances as a vocalist. Which is slightly annoying as I rather enjoying his deep guttural and his pitch shifted Satan sounding chants.
The guitar work is in the region of "pretty cool" for me. Nothing too revolutionary or amazing, in my eyes, but there are a few cool riffs sprinkled throughout (Black Star, First track's chorus). The tone is wet and grimey, a bit too much for my taste but it sounds good nonetheless. The bass is actually fairly audible, and Jeff even does some different stuff besides just play root notes.
Ken's drumming keeps the album together, and is rhythmically thick and driving. He is easily the most advanced musician for this outing, which considering his lack of anything technicality on this album, is sad. His use of the cowbell as the center of the beat for "Keep On Rottin' In the Free World"'s solo moments is really damn annoying though.
The songwriting, unlike some hardcore metal fans protest, is mature and probably the most advanced in Carcass history. Yes, whilst the music itself is lacking, the placement of the music and the ability to play a riff without wearing it out is what gives my score about 40% of the score. Bill and Jeff were key arrangers and made what could've been amazing songs, using the simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorusx2 method, of AC-DC fame.
Well, there you have it. A monumental band in metal, forging sick goregrind then taming themselves for a melodic release fell-out of the spotlight with little more than a spark...which is much less then they deserved, which would be a massive bang.
Rather funny little album though. Nice to play in your car once in a while. Carcass had reached the end of the road with their techno death metal on Heartwork and it is obvious around the time they wrote the songs for this album, they just didn’t know how to make another death metal album anymore. They sound a bit tired and too laid back here. Afterwards, I find this to be logical considering what they had achieved earlier and how much progression they had made with each album. At that moment in time however I was very disappointed.
Not a single fast song to be found on “Swansong”. Mostly slow and mid paced rocking metal (oh, how I loathe that newbie-term Death And Roll) with Jeff Walker’s typical screeching voice (although he's growling a little bit lower from time to time). And even though some songs such as “Keep On Rotting in the Free World”, “Cross My Heart” and “Generation Hexed” have some catchy and enjoyable moments, one obviously get bored after 4 or 5 of these songs in a row. There simply isn’t enough variation to keep the album interesting from start to finish. And that was something I wasn’t accustomed to when listening to a Carcass album.
This album was the blueprint for Jeff and Ken’s later band Blackstar which did a better job at playing this new found style. Swansong isn’t bad, it’s just rather dull at certain points and should have been the Blackstar debut instead of Carcass’ last official album.
As this is my first review for Encyclopaedia Metallum, I'm going to watch how I say this. Carcass' "final" studio album is not what people imagine Carcass to be. It's rocky, it's melodic, and it's different from their grindcore pioneering album "Reek of Putrefaction". For those reasons, people seem to dislike this album greatly, some to the point of detest. Yes, one could call this a "sell-out" album. In fact the majority do so. But the fact remains, no matter what level of brutality they once protruded, the content of Carcass', ahem, swansong is absolutely incredible. The majority is wrong.
The riffs on this album are very metal indeed, not the sort of metal that Carcass were originally famous for, but the kind of metal that the likes of Iron Maiden were famous for. There are those bludgeoning moments, and then there are the more sedate, melodic moments which usually consist of arpeggios, with the notes left to ring, reminiscent of the sort of arpeggio you would play on an acoustic guitar. Some songs manage to fuse these moments together, for example "Child's Play" and "Polarized". There are even elements from other metal subgenres other than the style demonstrated throughout most of the album, for example the asphyxiating doom metal riff in the pen-ultimate track "Don't Believe a Word", and the almost power metal masterpiece that is "R**k the Vote", proof that Carcass are still as inventive as ever.
The bass can be heard very well on this album, and Jeff even does some fiddly bits on his bass guitar on "Don't Believe a Word". Ken's drums are still pounding, although the blast-beats have finally disappeared after gradually lessening from Reek of Putrefaction to Symphonies of Sickness, Necroticism, and then Heartwork. The guitar tone is harder than what it was on Heartwork, and in fact sounds like it did on Necroticism and the Tools of the Trade EP, except with more gain, so Bill and Carlo finally have some sustain on their chords which was been sorely lacking throughout their career.
On Heartwork, they aborted their tales of fun in the morgue, so don't expect to hear the 'g' word being thrown around like confetti here. You can understand the lyrics very easily, and they are usually very good, very clever, and definitely very, very British. You can check out the lyrics elsewhere on this website so I won't give examples.
This album isn't perfect though. There are tracks which fall completely short of the mark, tracks that feel like pure filler material. "Cross My Heart" is a very bland and uninspired song, as is the closing track "Go To Hell", which ruins the album by giving it an under-par finish. "Firm Hand" is initially interesting, but becomes boring very quickly. And to say "Generation Hexed" is favoured by the majority, I, for one, cannot see what all the fuss is about. There are moments where it begins to pick up, for instance I like the way it sounds similar to an older favourite of mine, namely "Swarming Vulgar Mass of Infected Virulency", but even still, that shows how uninspired they must have been when they'd written the best they could and needed some more stuff to round the album up. But, owners of the odds and sods album "Wake Up And Smell The.. Carcass" will have no-doubt heard the rejected Swansong material, the songs "Edge of Darkness", "Emotional Flatline" "Ever Increasing Circles", "Blood Splattered Banner", and "I Told You So (Corporate Rock Really Does Suck)". Surprisingly, all but the latter are stronger than all of the filler material I mentioned earlier, and even stronger than some of the highlights from the Swansong album.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album, albeit the songs of lesser quality. The highlights have to be "Keep On Rotting In The Free World", "Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody", "Black Star", "Child's Play", "Room 101", "Polarized", "R**k the Vote", and "Don't Believe a Word". In my opinion, there was no necessity in the rejection of the material that ended up on Wake up and Smell The... Carcass, all that fits comfortably onto one disc along with the accepted material. But it wasn't my decision, and I can't do anything about it so never mind.
For you not to have realised that this sounds nothing like their earlier stuff, you must have had to have been living under a rock for the past 15 years or something. However, that aside; does this sound to you like the sign of a band with fading talent? No, Of course not! It sounds like a band that wanted a change of sound (it makes you wonder whether the further change in sound is anything to do with Michael Amott's departure).
I absolutely love their sickening goregrind albums and also the stint with death of Necroticism, but this is actually quite a pleasant listening experience (maybe that's the problem some people have with this); and you can see how this and the previous album 'Heartwork' have inspired so many proceding bands. Carcass has been a huge influence on a great many deal of bands both with the grind releases and with the more melodic later releases.
The problem is, and I've seen this noted elsewhere, that the dislike comes from the fans not saying 'This isn't a good album' but 'This isn't a carcass album'; refusing to listen to something that departs from their trademark extremity of old. Now granted, this is not an album that reflects Carcass in the best light, but it is still entertaining if you look past the fact that it is such a dramatic change from their earlier sound.
Anyway, this has a sound of heavy death rock, (or "Rot 'n' Roll" as they said themselves) with some memorable melodies and some 'nice' coarse death metal vocals providing the lyrical content. The sound is downtuned distorted guitars playing heavy rock with a melodic death metal flavour, the harsh rasped growls of Jeff Walker add to this and help retain the Carcass identity. The production is very pleasing to the ears, and every instrument has the right level, giving the album a somewhat coherent (repetetive?) sound. The riffs, solos and melodies are all truly memorable and there are some great songs on here including their famous 'Blackstar' and 'Child's Play', but there is very little filler on this album.
Recommended to people who like Melodic Death and Hard Rock.
From the band that brought us such grind/death classics as Necroticism and Heartwork comes Swansong, a totally different albums. Very hard to describe musically, pretend that 90's Megadeth and Down had a jam session and invited Carcass along to sing. That sounds about right. Gone are most of the double bass drums, the brutally heavy riffs and the medically-obsessed lyrics. Replacing said elements are melodic riffs, conservative drumming and politically charged lyrics, exemplified in songs such as R**k the Vote and Polarized. Despite my liking their death metal stuff better, Swansong holds it's own as an excellent album in it's own right.
There is really some quality stuff on here. Polarized, for example has an incredibly cool verse with the whole "I don't..." scheme and a melodic and powerful solo to boot. R**k the Vote has a very Iron Maiden tinge to it, especially with the harmony parts. Child's Play starts off promising with some chugging riffage and heavy as hell drums, then kicks into a pre verse melody, and then DELIVERS it's evilness in spades. Keep on rotting in the free world, aside from having a nice title, has some extremely political lyrics and great riffs. Firm Hand starts off much in the same way as Child's Play, a heavy chugging riff and then into the a-typical "verse-chorus-verse" that personifies this album. This isn't necessairly a bad thing, it's just different.
Many people (especially us metalheads) fear change, more notably when it happens to our favourite bands, since many times the change has been horrid (ie: Risk), but Swansong delivers a heavy, pounding, melodic and overall much different Carcass. Highly recommended.
Swansong is the last release of the (former) goregrind/goremetal gods, Carcass. Oh my god. Fuck. Shoot me, Jesus.
Why didn't they quite before? They were doing great. Their first three releases are pretty much legendary (And for good reason, I might add), and Heartwork was just really freakin' cool. And then this.
I mean, the first time I listened to it, I thought "this is pretty good. But it dosn't NEARLY match their old work." Then I listened to it some more.. and cried... and then I kind of curled up in a fetal ball and listened to ...and Oceans - The Symmetry Of I, The Circle Of O with the first track on repeat for about an hour.
When I felt that the "Moon People" weren't trying to kill me, waiting outside my door, I left my room and listened to the album again. This was the last time I respected Carcass.
Swansong is repetitive, bland, it feels the same.. it feels cliche almost. Boring vocals, HORRIBLE "anti-political" lyrics.. jesus, fucking read Black Star.. Moving on, bland guitar "solos"... did I miss anything?
Every song feels the same. Not only is that the way this album is, but you know exactly what I'm talkign about. You know how Mortician release the same album thats complied of the same tracks every few years? Yeah. It's like that, but without all the former albums sucking.
Nothing here to like, the "high point" if there is one is Polarized. Its almost catchy. But then it starts to suck cunt and hard.
Jesus, go get the first three albums, then if you want melodeath that isn't just a sad excuse for music, go get Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges.
Until I forget about Polarized, here I will lay, in a fetal ball, writing this review, with The Symmetry on repeat. I hope you're happy, fucking Carcass.
Many Metalheads of the particularly "true" variety do not like this album. Because it is not a 1,000,000,000,000 per mile blast fest that only appeals to 3 people on the entire planet, they call Swansong sellout and other nasty names.
True, compared to Carcass's earlier efforts such as Reek Of Putrefaction and Symphonies Of Sickness, or even Heartwork, Swansong is soft. But this is still a very fine album indeed.
Swansong harkens back to the days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), its emphasis on great catchy Metal songs mirroring the likes of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead and other NWOBHM stalwarts. Unlike many Death Metal albums where each song blurs into the next, the songs on Swansong are each unique and easily recognisable.
Though bands such as Entombed have also stripped down thier Death Metal attack, they have all focused on incorporating Punk elements into their music. But Swansong is different in that is still pure metal.
The guitars are pure Bill Steer brilliance, while Jeff Walker's once again shows us why he iwas one of the best vocalists in extreme metal.
So if it's catchy Death infused Heavy Metal you're after, then Swansong is the album for you.
Carcass is one of my favorite all-time bands. I do not, however, like this album. I'm not some close-minded "nothing but brutal death fuck anal probe shit blasting metal!!!" freaks, but I still can't make myself appreciate this heavy metal/rock approach. For what it is, Swansong is pretty good. It has some nice heavy riffs that wouldn't be completely out of place in any other heavy metal band. Sadly, I can't get over Jeff Walker's vocals accompanying this style of music. When I think Walker, I don't think heavy metal. The style is completely out of place with this style of music, and it shows.
As for the music itself, I can't say its all that bad. There's an overall nice groove to everything. If I had never heard of Carcass prior to picking this album up, I would have been far less disappointed. That not being the case, I've spent most of my time with these songs imagining a big riff monster to pop up out of nowhere and force me to bang my head thoroughly against the nearest blunt object.
If you're trying to get into Carcass, I would avoid this one until you've gotten a feel for the other, better material. Then again, if you've never heard of Carcass, you're a moron.