Review Summary: Still regaining the band's technically precise sound and disgusting yet complicated lyrical imagery, 'Tools of the Trade' serves as both a worthy addition to any Carcass fan's collection and a suitable introduction to anyone who hasn't heard the band's mu
Quite how successful Carcass expected their first EP, 'Tools of the Trade' to be is beyond anybody's guess-simply because, whilst each of its songs are extremely good indeed, three of these songs can be found on any other of the band's Compilation/Studio albums. It must have been perceived as a largely unnecessary thing to do, especially since over a decade later, the whole EP would have been included on the compilation album 'Gods of Grind' as well as a dual disc reissue of arguably the band's most technically precise album, 'Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious'. That said, what 'Tools of the Trade' certainly is, is a reflection of a period where the band themselves were musically on fine form.
It is obvious to everyone who knows of this EP that the title track is the only track which hasn't been taken from one of the band's studio releases or indeed hasn't been reworked to sound every bit as technical and precise as on 'Necroticism...'. Opening with predictable yet satisfying scything guitar riffs, machine gun fire drum work and throat-ripping vocals that would make anyone cough their guts up in a mere few seconds, 'Tools of the Trade' could have found its place on any one of Carcass' albums pre-1992 and not be criticised as 'filler'. The meaning of the song lives up to the title obviously enough, and if you didn't expect the band to have written as many mind-bogging complex lexical choices from the English dictionary, how very wrong you would have been:
“Steel skin clips,
Forceps, grooved awl, retractors, needles
Gouges and saws,
Intestinal clamps, blunt dissectors,
Scalpels, pins, toothed directors”
I don't think you'd need much more than these lyrics to convince one that Carcass were following up the complex yet sickening imagery of each of 'Necroticism...'s songs with relative ease.
Of course, the remaining three songs follow in a similar way. 'Incarnated Solvent Abuse', for obvious reasons, serves as a powerful opener to an EP that hits the listener directly with its disgustingly referenced content and well-executed instrumental performances, and 'Pyosified (Still Rotten to the Gore), originally taken from the band's début album, 'Reek of Putrefaction', gives direct insight into a gorier, more Grindcore influenced side of the band's sound. What is left to close the EP (and funnily enough also closes the 'Symphonies of Sickness' album) is a stunning yet slightly awkward reworking of 'Hepatic Tissue Fermentation'. With enough venom and vileness to make even the healthiest person commit themselves to the nearest hospital, it certainly does what it says on the tin.
However, my point still stands in that this EP is merely an addition for collectors of the band's material, yet it is also a worthy beginning to anyone who is interested in Carcass' best examples of their heyday. Anyone else would do better to purchase the aforementioned albums as well as the 'Wake up and smell the...Carcass' compilation, but this isn't to say that you shouldn't so much as listen to 'Tools of the Trade' once through-because if you do, satisfaction for Death Metal fans is most definitely guaranteed.