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The return of the surgeon - 95%

Opus_Oculto, October 4th, 2013

I definitely did not expect the return of the legendary grind/melodic death metal band Carcass to really happen. After seventeen years after the release of Swansong, an album that seemed to end the grindcore side of the band, these veterans of extreme music unleash upon the human race another great masterpiece of pure grind/thrash/melodic death metal.

However, this time the sound of Carcass tends more to a thrash metal rhythm than in all the previous albums. Even the names of some songs make reference to it (listen to the second track, Thrasher's Abattoir). There are not the same nonsensical doses of grindcore as in the band's early albums, where the rawness of instruments and arrangements made the band sound almost inaudible, but, in fact, this is a positive point, as Surgical Steel can be interpreted as a successful continuation of Heartwork, the band’s masterpiece. Not even the absence of the legendary founding member Michael Amott seems to have affected the glorious result that appears in the almost 50 minutes of Surgical Steel.

The album begins with a rhythmic and melodic track with just the pair of guitars from Bill Steer. A peaceful and harmonious introduction to the carnage that begins thereafter. Ten tracks in which Carcass shows all the mastery and creativity that made them became world famous in the 90s. The medical issues are back in the lyrics (listen to Noncompliance to ASTM F899-12 Standard and Captive Bolt Pistol) and even on the album cover, which goes back to an old release from the band, the Tools of the Trade EP, from 1992. Individually, deserve mention the wonderful work of Jeff Walker on vocals, with constant power and aggressiveness throughout the whole album and the creative battery of Daniel Wilding, who gave a more technical and faster tone to the music, sounding far more accurate than its predecessor, Ken Owen.

Bill Steer also seems not to have slept in those seventeen years that Carcass remained in silence. In Surgical Steel there are riffs of all kinds, ranging from pure tremolo picking passages through more melodic and rhythmical riffs as in Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System to pure thrash savagery as in Captive Bolt Pistol. In most of the songs these three styles are fully merged, which makes the songs very heterogeneous (hear The Master Butcher's Apron).

Carcass hit on perfecting the Heartwork’s formula in this new release, becoming the band's sound more mature and consolidating its expertise in mixing thrash, death and a bit of grindcore in an unique and unmistakable melodic style. A return in style of one of the most popular names in the metal scene.

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