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This isn't just heavy for 1989. This is just plain heavy, period.
This album quickly became one of my all-time favorites. I have a tendency to buy a CD and listen to it complusively for a while, then put on the shelf and listen to it occasionally. This is not one of those albums.
It's as fast as anything that comes out nowadays in a lot of places, doomy as a bastard in others, but a headbanging good time throughout. These guys really got heavy down pat when they put this out. From the gruesome cover to the nasty lyrics to the grungy as hell music, this never disappoints.
The sound is amazing for an 80s death metal album. The guitars have plenty of crunch, the bass comes from the sewer, and the vocals are flat out nasty. The drumming is competent and solid as well. I never thought I'd hear anything this good for production from this era. I don't know if they had a few more dollars to work with, but Earache wasn't exactly the death metal juggernaut it became in later years. In my opinion this album hasn't lost a step. There are plenty of recordings from this era that seem to lose something over the years, but this one is uncompromising.
It's hard to name a real killing song on this one, but Ruptured in Purulence and Slash Dementia are a couple of my favorites. Don't expect any real "Heartwork" moments here, each song has moments of headbanging plodding and moments of searing death metal blasting. There are plenty of grindcore bands that try to capture this type of feeling nowadays, but with the gloss of modern studio techniques accessible to anyone with a computer and a copy of Pro-Tools, they just don't sound this evil and dirty.
I really like the later material like Neuroticism and Heartwork, but this will forever be my favorite Carcass album. I can't reccomend this any more highly to anyone that loves skull crushing metal.