Long-awaited comebacks are notoriously tricky to pull off with dignity, but Carcass (opens in new tab) made it look easy. When the legendary Brits released Surgical Steel (opens in new tab) in 2013, 17 years after they last released an album, the response was almost universally ecstatic. Not just a giant, choking dose of new Carcass music, it showcased a fiendishly clever hybrid of everything that fans loved about the band: from the all-out, gore-drenched fury of the early years, to the more sophisticated songwriting and melodic brilliance of Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious and Heartwork (opens in new tab). It was, in essence, Total Carcass, and Torn Arteries repeats the trick, with even more suppurating swagger and deathly swing.
Veteran status be damned, Carcass sound thoroughly vital and vivacious here. With the band’s current line-up now well-oiled through extensive touring, these songs offer a wonderfully organic and human antidote to the legions of Pro-Tooled conformity. Theirs is a proudly old-school approach, and yet from the ripping riff-splurge of the opening title track to the cudgelling pomp of The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing, Carcass always sound utterly contemporary too.
Both Under The Scalpel Blade and Kelly’s Meat Emporium (opens in new tab) are explosive, succinct and considerably more sonically grisly than anything on Surgical Steel: shades of Reek Of Putrefaction (opens in new tab)-era goregrind oozing from bullet-holes in an otherwise gleaming, classic metal chassis. By contrast, Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited is simply the most epic and progressive thing Carcass have ever recorded; nearly 10 minutes in length and blessed with an obscene number of magnificent Bill Steer riffs, it confirms that the band are instinctively disinterested in rehashing past glories, and are still overburdened with brilliant, eccentric ideas. Meanwhile, Jeff Walker’s ageless rasp and unerringly perverse and sardonic lyrics are as unique as ever. Once again, this is Total Carcass. No one does it better. In fact, no one else does it.
Torn Arteries is out September 17 via Nuclear Blast