Carcass - _Surgical Steel_
(Nuclear Blast, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8 out of 10)
There is no doubt that Carcass is one of those bands whose memory will live on for a long time. We've even participated in cementing their memory by including their seminal 1991 release _Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious_ in our annual "Withstanding the March of Time" article. So when a band responsible for such highly regarded contributions to death metal comes back with a full-length in 2013 -- their first since 1996's _Swansong_, by the way -- the interest of metalheads will definitely be piqued; at least to check out whether they still have what it takes to grind some sick symphonies like they did twenty years ago.

_Surgical Steel_ is what the comeback album is called and it's a very Carcass name for an album, given their past inclination towards medical matters; though this one is more oriented towards the equipment used in surgical operations. Look no further than "Noncompliance to ASTM F899-12 Standard", which is a reference to the standard specification for surgical stainless steel from the American Society for Testing and Materials, and "316L Grade Surgical Steel" which is the ideal material used for manufacturing surgical equipment. This is like the only case ever where metallurgy and death metal meet and create something interesting. Who else but Jeff Walker and Bill Steer can do that? There are some moments of brilliance there, like the amazing trilled riff on "Noncompliance", the groovy section in the beginning of "Unfit for Human Consumption" and the guitar solo on "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mill".

These two gentlemen are considered by many as the core Carcass line-up, but I'd be remiss if I didn't call out on Ken Owen as one of the finer death metal drummers to ever park his backside on a drum throne. Unfortunately though, Mr. Owen's health condition does not allow him to play drums anymore, which means that they had to find a replacement for _Surgical Steel_. The new recruit is a much younger but very capable fellow by the name of Daniel Wilding, whom you may know from his work with the English deathcore act Trigger the Bloodshed. Mr. Wilding's performance matches the Carcass sound very adequately, despite the fact that he was just a schoolboy when Carcass disbanded in the '90s.

In addition to the very well measured compositions on _Surgical Steel_, the record also projects a certain wisdom regarding its length and the number of tracks it contains. Having been away for so long, Carcass could have been tempted to just fill the album up to the brim with everything they could possibly write, but they didn't. They opted for a very reasonable forty seven minute length that keeps the listener excited and satisfied but not exhausted. This is a carefully put together comeback album from a legendary outfit that has played its cards right; unlike a certain old-school death metal band from Florida that will remain unnamed. This is easily the comeback of the year. Now go back and listen to "Thrasher's Abbatoir" again at the highest volume you can muster.

(article published 13/10/2013)


ALBUMS
3/16/1997 A Wasylyk 6 Carcass - Wake Up and Smell the Carcass
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