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Carcass' Torn Arteries: death metal legends still vital and vivacious 35 years on

Carcass' Torn Arties marks another bold and bloody comeback for the death metal legends

Carcass Torn Arteries album cover
(Image: © Nuclear Blast)

Long-awaited comebacks are notoriously tricky to pull off with dignity, but Carcass made it look easy. When the legendary Brits released Surgical Steel 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. 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 are explosive, succinct and considerably more sonically grisly than anything on Surgical Steel: shades of Reek Of Putrefaction-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

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.