Album Review: Carcass – Torn Arteries

After changing their music significantly some years ago, then retiring, then coming back after eight years, Carcass seem to now (hopefully) be a mainstay of the extreme metal scene. And if they can continue to produce absolute classics like Torn Arteries then that’s even better news.

Little has been released from the album so far (“Dance of Ixtab”, below, and “Kelly’s Meat Emporium“), but rest assured that there’s another eight tracks on here that will very much entertain. The modern-day Carcass sound is very much present, perhaps with more of a classic metal edge in some of the guitar solos. Despite being nicely jagged and blisteringly fast in places, they still temper the old grindcore sound and work well alongside the more abrasive moments.

There’s a decent mix of barnstormers (such as the opening and title track, and “The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing” which ends proceedings) and overall slower numbers (“Wake Up And Smell The Carcass”, “Under The Scalpel Blade”), plus all points in between. This is as comprehensive an example of Carcass’ post-Necrotism output as I’ve ever heard. For a band to continue to churn out music this heavy without it getting “samey” takes some doing. It’s arguably still as heavy as Reek of Putrefaction in places, just much better produced. They certainly haven’t discarded that original sound by any means, it just acts as the basis for their current output rather than being 99% of it.

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At this point, I’d usually pull out some album highlights or name the best track… but I can’t. This is one of those rare “no filler” releases with every song as good as the others.

This is the best latter-day Carcass album, hands down. And that’s saying something, given how much I enjoyed Heartwork and Surgical Steel. The band have perfected that blend of incredibly heavy music with melodic riffage and classic metal tones. Despite the ongoing face-shredding throughout, Torn Arteries never stops being… musical. It could descend into noise and experimental babble, but it doesn’t. Instead we have an album that is simultaneously wonderfully heavy and eminently accessible. It takes some talent to pull that off.

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Torn Arteries is out on September 17th

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