Carcass
Symphonies of Sickness


4.5
superb

Review

by B R A N D O N S C O T T USER (103 Reviews)
February 10th, 2010 | 45 replies | 6,036 views


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

When it comes to the world of death metal, there are only a few bands that are held in such high regards as the Liverpool based Carcass. Over the course of only five albums, the band not only became one of the most influential death metal groups to exist, but also successfully reinvented themselves with each progressive album they released. In 1989, hot from the success of their grindcore defining Reek of Putrefaction, Carcass released Symphonies of Sickness, an album that not only showed the band mixing their hectic grind with some traditional death metal influences, but also showed the band hitting their stride as unique and innovative song-writers.

While 1988's Reek Of Putrefaction saw Carcass perform in a straight up grindcore style, Symphonies of Sickness displays a great departure from the band's initial sound. Introducing a much greater level of technicality in all instrument area's Symphonies of Sickness takes on a much more death metal inspired path than it's predecessor, a sound that will only develop upon later releases. Vocally, Jeff Walker's phlegm filled snarl and Bill Steer's guttural roar are as puke inducing (especially in "Crepitating Bowl Erosion") as ever: the two sound like they are practically shredding the insides of their throats, yet somehow, the sickening approach greatly aides the chaotic music presented by the band. The guitar riffs (also courtesy of Bill Steer) are dirty and downtuned, sometimes being played in the form of twisting tremolo picking, and sometimes in a slower, palm muted fashion. Steer really does a great job of combining the grindcore type guitar of old with the newer death metal oriented sound, which gives the album some great variation. Also in songs such as "Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites" and "Slash Dementia" Steer unleashes some of his truly unique and quite interesting soloing style. Perhaps the greatest leap in skill on the album is taken by Ken Owen, who on Symphonies of Sickness shows a great change of style in his drumming. While Reek... displayed Ken using the fairly simple style of single bass note patterns and blasting on the high hat/snare, Symphonies of Sickness showcases a much more complex style of drumming. Almost as if a completely different drummer, Mr. Owen now uses complicated double bass beats, and overall shows great diversity through many different patterns and fills.

Lyrically, Carcass is just as disgusting as before. Using terms of his sister's medical books, Jeff Walker spews in "Reek of Putrefaction", "Volatile entrails fume and steam/As they're meticulously hacked during discission/Evaporating sludge and bubbling puss/A rotten gaseous expiration... ". While nobody may know exactly what this means, it sounds pretty disgusting. In a way, it's almost sickening to think that these kind of lyrics are some of the more influential traits that newer grindcore bands incorporate into their songs. Also the band's (for its time) unique dual vocal approach also was a great influence to a newer generation of death metal bands. For their time, Carcass were true innovators, which no doubt attributes to the fact that they are one of the best known, and most popular death metal bands to ever exist.

When it comes to crafting quality death metal, Carcass are the kings of the crop. From their vile lyrical content, to their mish-mosh of grindcore and death metal, the band never ceases to amaze. With Symphonies of Sickness, Carcass began to show some of the hidden talent that would grow and bloom on following releases. From this point on, the band would join the metal elite, and their place in music history was safe and secured.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
February 10th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Gah love this album. I might add more to the conclusion later, but i'm pretty happy about it. Enjoy!

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

XulOnerom
February 10th 2010



1818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review and album

any14doomsday
February 11th 2010



679 Comments


This and Reek Of Putrefaction are the only Carcass albums I like.

TheSpirit
February 11th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Surprised you wouldn't like Necrotism

qwe3
February 11th 2010



21355 Comments


i can't stand carcass but nice review

FadeToBlack
February 11th 2010



10913 Comments


great review + album, the beginning of Ruptured in Purulence is amazing (and the whole song really)

Mordecai.
February 11th 2010



8277 Comments


how can anyone not like Carcass qwe?

qwe3
February 11th 2010



21355 Comments


you listen to them


the music does not appeal to you

Mordecai.
February 11th 2010



8277 Comments


can you please dumb that down for me?

Ponton
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



5790 Comments


Good review, Spirit. I plan to check out Necroticism, and it looks like I may need to get to this eventually too.

TheSpirit
February 11th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks everyone. Observer, this is quite a bit more abrasive than Necrostism, but you should enjoy this nonetheless

Wizard
February 11th 2010



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Realized my rating on this was a 3 and should have been a 3.5....that's better! Great review, I like the inclusion of historical context thrown into reviews, which you seem to do ofter ; ).

Having owned this album for years and getting more into grind throughout that time period as well, I think it's misleading of people to say this had a profound impact on grind. I find that Carcass's first two releases established more of a niche within the grind genre, establishing the so called gore-grind bands alot more than say the more death metal side of grind such as Brutal Truth, Pig Destroyer Discordance Axis etc. The influence is there, but I feel Napalm Death/ Repulsion did a better job with establishing the genre as a whole.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

TheSpirit
February 11th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

As far as influence on other bands, maybe i did go a little out of hand, but i do know that the dual vocals and lyrics had quite a bit of influence. Since i'm not really that big of a fan of grindcore, i really didn't know there was any major musical differences between "grindcore" and "goregrind". I thought the only difference was in lyrics.

Dryden
February 11th 2010



12928 Comments


awsome review awsome album

TheSpirit
February 11th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thank you dryden!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2010



16310 Comments


Downloaded this off the blog the other day but have yet to listen to it. Will do now.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

LepreCon
February 11th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I guess grind isn't my thing, I prefer everything after this.

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory

modernlifeisadam
February 11th 2010



2 Comments


i have tried for the past 5 years, pretty much annually to get into carcass, and they just always bore the piss out of me. huge grind fan, too.

KILL
February 11th 2010



71392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome review

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

TheSpirit
February 11th 2010



17719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks KILL



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