Review Summary: Legit surgeons for sure
General Surgery is a goregrind band formed in 1988. If you made it past the first sentence and still have an interest in checking this out, let me be the first to congratulate you in readily accepting the rather infamous genre known as goregrind. When it comes to General Surgery, there is no dabbling around trying to find a pace, or a direction, or experimentation even, Necrology of all albums is the quintessential short, sweet (ok maybe not sweet), and to the point kind of grind album. It’s but a mere EP, so its length only touches about 16 minutes, but it’s 16 minutes that pleasurably rectify you right in your seat. If ever there were to be found a comfortable goregrind release at the height of its time (after Carcass came to the scene) Necrology has to be it. I can find very little about this album to criticize, very few issues to point out, or anything in general to complain about. This is an incredibly simple and straightforward album that (unlike several goregrind productions to come in later years) doesn’t turn you away. Honestly, if you can feel comfortable with brutal death metal, and be able to recognize a few choice bands in the DM scene, this album can feel right at home for you.
This album sticks out as goregrind for two main reasons: first and foremost it would have to be the vocals, the dual, tri, and sometimes quad vocals on this album offer up a huge selection of different vocal styles, which is why if you can recognize a few choice DM bands of the 90’s, this album will feel much more at home. The other standout point is the blasting drums lining the album, and the guitars are down tuned to the ground. Also, if you’re a lyrical kind of person, and can sense the pathological gore used for lyrics on this album, that can be a standout point as well, and if you’re a person that can look even deeper than that, you can see that this band (much like most goregrind/pornogrind bands) doesn’t take themselves or their lyrics seriously. Part of recognizing and accepting good goregrind (I believe) is the ability to realize that what the band does is by no means serious, and its general silliness is meant as nothing more than an entertainment factor.
Now once you’ve dissected the genre, and gotten to know its true intentions, and know what to expect, the time has come to hit the play button. At first glance, everything seems to be in order, everything appears well thought out, and played carefully, especially the vocals. The vocals on this album are by far the most exciting part, simply because there is loads of variety. If you’re familiar with Carcass’s earlier work, basically everything before Necroticism, then you can easily tell that this band directly takes from their style. And why wouldn’t they? After all, Carcass is where most goregrind is born from. But aside from the obvious Carcass mimicking, there is some Immolation, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, and many other vocal styles I’m sure lining this album, alongside the signature deep, deep guttural vocals key to goregrind. When it comes to the vocal work on here, this EP is absolutely perfect, however there are a few concerning issues with this album.
The first problem would be the production, to put it simply, it isn’t exactly reminiscent of what the whole goregrind experience ought to feel like. The guitars feel a bit too down tuned, and because of this, there isn’t much audibility in the bass, and in some areas, the guitars are simply too loud, and block out everything, even the vocals. There is also the issue of the actual guitar playing; it can get rather dull. Other notable bands in the genre such as The County Medical Examiners or Haemorrhage have chords and scales ranging all up and down the fret board, along with innumerable solos. Necrology, besides a few solos here and there (which are great for their sake) it really is the same chord progression over and over. It is with this album, and a few others like it, and those albums only that I’ll admit there is some dull repetition here and there, but otherwise, this is a very unique genre, despite just about everything coming from Carcass. The drums on the other hand are just shy of perfect. Unlike much of what you’ll find today, they’re not overproduced, and it’s not like every song is littered with abysmal blast beats. In Necrology, you can find speed, groove, even jazz towards the end of the album, on a particular song where the guttural vocals make an outstanding and extended appearance. When it comes to the drumming, there is not much to deem “unnecessary”.
General Surgery are off to a good start to say the least, and it’s a shame the band had to take over a decade off, but when they reunite, it’s a force to be reckoned with, no doubts there. However what they produce in the 00’s has absolutely nothing on the slamming productions from back in the early 90’s, when grind was at its best. This is not an acquired taste in the slightest; any fan of the recognizable death metal bands and their best albums from the 90’s can easily find a connection with this phenomenal piece of work. Definitely worth those peoples’ 15 minutes.