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Carcass did something revolutionary back in 1989 when they released “Symphonies of Sickness”. What did they do that was so revolutionary? Oh nothing really, except create the genre known only as goregrind. This album basically set the foundation for every other band that attempts goregrind. If you can find a goregrind band that doesn’t name Carcass as their influence, they’re lying. Simple as that, this is and will always be the greatest goregrind album ever.
The production is a massive step up from their previous album. “Reek of Putrefaction” was by far one of the worst productions I’ve ever heard. “Symphonies of Sickness” just happens to be the exact opposite and is very well produced. The guitars are extremely heavy, just listen to “Ruptured in Purulence”; the bass is loud and backs up the guitar nicely but also has some stand outs, “Ruptured” and “Empathological Necroticism”. The drums are loud but the snare can get lost sometimes in the blast beats but not that big of a deal.
The riffs on this album are very technical compared to their debut. “Excoriating Abdominal Emanation” is a great example of these riffs being all over the place. “Ruptured in Purulence” has one of the heaviest riffs ever played in the intro and then explodes into the grind madness that Carcass is so good at. “Crepitating Bowel Erosion” also has an amazingly heavy intro. 2 of the songs on here seem more straight grindcore to me. “Cadaveric Incubator of Endo Parasites” and “Slash Dementia” are both extremely fast. They start with blast beats and continue through most of the song, so if you’re worried about a shortage of blast beats and grind, don’t worry about it.
Now the vocals. The trio of Bill Steer, Jeff Walker, and Ken Owen has got to be the greatest combination of vocals in the history of metal. Bill Steer and his extreme gutturals, Ken doing his pitch shifted sections perfectly, and Jeff Walker doing his high raspy screams and his vomit sounding vocals all work perfectly together. Jeff especially shines during the mid section of “Excoriating Abdominal Emanation” and the insane vocals on “Ruptured in Purulence”. There are plenty of random Jeff Walker noises that linger in the background that sound like he might be sick. All of this just adds to feel of the album that created goregrind.
The lyrics are the most disgusting lyrics ever. They are not like Cannibal Corpse gore lyrics because most of those are fantasy based. These are pathologic gore lyrics that can actually exist. Obviously, most morticians don’t go grave robbing and start eating rotting corpses but you get my drift. “Cadaveric Incubator of Endo Parasites” is about a corpse literally being eaten away by insects. I almost threw up the first time I read them. It is just flat out gross. “Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment” might be the most horrible song on here. Boiling fetuses to make a soup, who doesn’t like the sound of that?
In closing, this is the almighty goregrind album and might just be my favorite album of all time. Everything about this album is amazing. If you like “Heartwork” or “Swansong” you might have a hard time trying to stomach this rotting piece of grind, but if you’re willing to try it, I would recommend it. It is and will always be one word, amazing.
Best tracks – Every single track on here is amazing