Review Summary: An obnoxiously strong record that hits home with some brutal and melodic riffing and a varied drum performance spiced up with some beautiful lead work.
Carcass are widely known one of the pioneers of two entirely separate sub-genres of extreme metal, as well as having put out an album that showed traits of hard rock music with Swansong. Following the release of their acclaimed first run of albums, the band disbanded and many thought they had seen the back of this legend in the folds of metal music. Thankfully, the masses were proven wrong when the band got back together and there were fanfares when it was announced that 2013 would herald the return of them with another studio album. The result is Surgical Steel, and what an album it turned out to be.
Where to start with this release. At eleven tracks long, this is a fairly long affair for a death metal release, but in this space of time the band hits their audience with nothing but the highest caliber of music. The raspy shrieks from the Heartwork-era of this band's career make their glorious return right from the introduction of the first proper track, perfectly complimenting the backdrop of their highly melodic style of metal. No stone is left un-turned with any of these tracks, from the strangely catchy Master Butcher's Apron to the monumental closer Mount Of Execution. Carcass clearly wrote this record with the intention of going straight for the throat, and they definitely accomplished this goal.
The riffs are among the most varied one will find anywhere in melodic death metal, carrying the tracks forward with a large amount of grace and melody. 316 L Grade Surgical Steel shows how well the band can handle even the most simplistic of tremolo picked riffs, whilst Thrasher's Abattoir subjects their listeners to a sub-two minute beating they are unlikely to forget any time soon. The lead side of the guitar work on this masterful accomplishment is no slouch either, with the solos retaining their ability to weave in and out of the riffs that the band have shown off throughout their career. Many of these songs have at least one moment of guitar noodling, and these solos definitely add a lot to the feel of the album.
The rest of the band hold up their end of creating this organized chaos too. The drumming dives between lightning fast blast beats and some surprisingly creative mid-paced skin work to great effect. Meanwhile, the bass is not only audible but adds a whole new dimension to the musicianship on display here, filling the void between the ever-changing riffs and the double-bass madness that backs them. Another thing the band definitely has not forgotten with this release is how to capture their listener's heads with some incredibly catchy moments. Captive Bolt Pistol's tremolo picking-backed sections stand out as one of the best of these, whilst closer Mount Of Execution (arguably the band's strongest song to date) will remain firmly rooted in your mind forever.
Each of the furious compositions that make up Carcass' Surgical Steel is nothing short of a phenomenon, with the band bringing something new to the table with every single track. Mount Of Execution in particular shows off just how good the band are, with the finest riff set they have put out, and this may well be the band's strongest album to date.