Few bands in extreme metal can boast the albums that Carcass have released. Reek Of Putrefaction made goregrind a thing, Necroticism showed off that the band could unleash insane guitar pyrotechnics upon the masses which eventually gave way to Heartwork’s full embrace of melody amongst chaos.
It has been eight years since Carcass’s last release. Surgical Steel hit store shelves and that in and of itself represented one of the greatest examples of a comeback album that has ever been heard. Jeff Walker, Bill Steer and company made it seem like “Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody;” nobody but themselves, that is. Torn Arteries certainly has more than enough high expectations before it was even theorized, so what niche will this new organ carve itself into the bodily assemblage of the mighty Carcass?
Going right for the jugular the title track opens things off in a very death metal way, followed by “Dance of Ixtab”, both are complete with the signature galloping pace of the rhythm section. Walker’s vocal style joined by Steer’s riff work is vintage Carcass complete with returning drummer Daniel Wilding and newly minted member Tom Draper, serving as fitting introductions to the album. “Under the Scalpel Blade” with its frantic changing of pace, from guitars that pound and punish which are also able to pull back and reveal a seriously groovy underbelly; Carcass can punish you and entice you within seconds allowing for a varied swath of emotions to envelop the listener within a four minute span.
Carcass attempt what is their longest song to date, “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited,” clocking in at nearly 10 minutes in length. It begins with some modest acoustic guitar playing before becoming the monolith in the middle of this album. The pacing can plod but the slowed pace never wears out its welcome, as melodic leads and furious riffs let things rip when the band deems it necessary. The middle section of the song features an excellent solo that sets up the rest of the track, slowing down and giving way to the b-side of the album.
If you love what Swansong did, then the latter half of this album is for you, lots of songs that are both fun and work seriously well. “Kelly’s Meat Emporium” and “In God We Trust” flat-out rock. The former is the heavier of the two tracks here with some fun wacky sections of guitar that some would consider to be a little less extreme. The latter track is pure love for an album that some fans wrongheadedly refer to as a bad album or haven’t listened to it since 1996 and don’t like fun. The driving hard rock guitar aesthetic that opens the song is excellent and makes you want to bob your head up and down in furious delight. The melodic solos join the fray, which are accompanied by hand clapping, having all the makings of a future live staple.
“Wake and Smell The Carcass/Caveat Emptor” might be my favorite track on the whole album, in particular after it kicks things into gear, Wilding’s drums support one of the most rockingest tunes in Carcass’s catalog since “Keep on Rotting In The Free World.” If this doesn’t make you want to move with me, then clear the pit and leave it to me. Everything about this track works and while it isn’t Heartwork or Surgical Steel, this still blows me away each and every time I hear it.
Carcass have crafted another exemplary example of what it means to be both extreme as well as being integral to heavy rock music in 2021. Torn Arteries isn’t going to please everybody, but for those of us that celebrate the complete Carcass discography as a disjointed sewn together and bloody mess of melody and body parts, this will surely be near the top of many a list by year’s end.
(released September 17, 2021 on Nuclear Blast)