"Surgical Steel"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Before I dissect this exquisite corpse, I want to climb on my soapbox for a moment. Those who are offended by strong opinion can kindly remove themselves for the remainder of this paragraph and check out what I actually say about "Surgical Steel" below. But first I want to say how PISSED OFF I am with phony metal elitists who clog up Facebook and what-not with goofy comments about Carcass like "sell out" and "they played it safe". Get a fucking clue, morons! Are these guys supposed to play rehashes of "Genital Grinder" in the year 2013? We have many, MANY early Carcass clones of that period...bands incapable of playing the material on display with "Surgical Steel". You can load up on these untalented bands, most of whom release records in "extremely limited quantities". Ooh, how cult that is! As for playing it safe, I guess these guys were supposed to come back and start playing Middle Eastern metal with techno and drone influences to "impress" every one with their progression. Carcass does not particularly need to "progress" to a sound the vast majority of their fans won't enjoy. Their job is not to impress the few who whine but rather the teeming hordes who have been hungry for TRUE melodic death metal...the genre Carcass pretty much pioneered. So the next time you hear some "true" metal guru decrying this record, keep that in mind for what it is...phony elitism. And bullshit of the highest degree.

This is one of the best comebacks in the history of heavy metal. If you were a fan of "Necroticism" and "Heartwork", you absolutely cannot afford to miss "Surgical Steel". It possesses every quality that made those two releases legendary in the extreme metal realm. In fact, I would say this is the natural successor to "Necroticism". It possesses a fierceness that I didn't find in "Heartwork", as well as a clinical morbidity that late era Carcass lacked. Although the creepy samples are missing...a very minor quibble. As far as the change in personnel goes, that is absolutely nothing to be concerned about. The technical level of playing here is beyond reproach.

From the majestic opening twin guitar barrage of "1985", you know you're in for something special here. That worthy intro leads into the brief, brutal punch to the gut that is "Thrasher's Abbatoir". Mr. Walker is sounding mighty pissed indeed and this tune is incredibly fierce. From there, we get a beautifully sick collection of raging tunes featuring great riffs and precision playing. Yes, you'll be reminded many times of "Necroticism" and "Heartwork" that such a bad thing? It's not like we've had an avalanche of great melodic death metal recently.The quality on tracks like "Non-Compliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" (a name that rolls lightly off the tongue!), "Unfit For Human Consumption" and "316-L Grade Surgical Steel" is amazing...fantastic riffs are pieced together with the care given to making a Swiss watch. The album ends with the slower and slightly more "rock" oriented "Mount of Execution"...a definite nod to the "Heartwork" and "Swansong" eras. Too many like this would have bogged down the fury of the album, but one lengthy track like this is perfect to show the breadth of Carcass' sound.

It's like they've never been away! This is better than I dared to hope. A sure contender for album of the year...and more proof of how great this band is.