I’m old enough to remember the furore when medical-dictionary toting vegan mentalists Carcass sold out and went all Gothenburg with their incendiary-in-more-ways-than-one album Heartwork in 1993. Low-foreheaded goregrindists everywhere were outraged at the album’s sleek heavy metal lines and didn’t mind telling you as much repeatedly after a couple of litres of White Lightning. And then telling you again when they’d sobered up.
I’m telling you this because the band have a new album out, Torn Arteries, later this month on enormo-label Nuclear Blast and it seems that the band still insist on ploughing their own furrow and damn the crusty torpedoes. This is right and proper of course – it’s far more punk rock after all to follow your own calling rather than submit to the baying of the mob – but once more it’s going to lead to a lot of grumbling from those who still inhabit the cheap seats, let me tell you…
Me? I couldn’t really give a monkey’s about the grind vs death metal face off as long as Bill Steer and Jeff Walker (and Dan Wilding and Tom Draper, let’s not forget) keep coming up with amusing track titles like Eleanor Rigor Mortis or, more importantly, ripsnorting tunes like this album’s standout The Devil Rides Out, which may take it’s title from a crappy Dennis Wheatley novel but is actually far more substantial a proposition in terms of artistic validity. Last album Surgical Steel understandably had a ‘hallo! we’re back!’ directness about it; here the band stretch out a little more, indulging themselves with melody on the excellent Under The Scalpel Blade and sheer-elephantine ambition on the just-short-of-ten-minute death metal operetta of Flesh Ripping Torment United, whilst on In God We Trust they even find time to throw in a few cheery handclaps in a bizarre meeting of tech death and seventies FM radio nostalgia… strange days indeed!
Carcass, iconoclastic impulses aside, are a British metal institution in 2021; as such, they can pretty much do what they like musically. If you don’t like that, don’t expect them to lose any sleep. But if you do, then, as ever, you’ll find an awful lot to enjoy about Torn Arteries. The choice is yours.
Torn Arteries releases on September 17th.