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Surgical Steel
(Nuclear Blast Records)

As if time stood still for twenty years. That was our spontaneous thought when “Surgical Steel” made its first rounds in our CD player. We honestly never really seriously thought that we would ever get to hear new CARCASS material. According to guitarist Bill Steer, the spirit of the good old days was gone when the band recorded their last album “Swansong". Judging by "Surgical Steel", the relationship in the band seems excellent again, as the new album sounds like the ultimate successor of “Heartwork” (1993) and “Necroticism” (1991), for many probably still the best CARCASS albums. The vocals of Jeff Walker, the guitarsound which you recognize out of literally hundreds of bands, the typical ‘galloping’ - like drums... these are elements that always defined CARCASS and made them true leaders in the genre. And it's nice to see that CARCASS is still able to come up with an album that surpasses tons of other bands. "Surgical Steel" opens with the short instrumental ‘1985’ and immediately speed up things with the frantic and also very short ‘Trasher's Abattoir’. With ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’ (fast, hard and with great screams of Walker), the band really starts to get into shape. However, it is with ‘A Congealed Clot Of Blood’ that the familiar CARCASS sound really starts to shine as this is a song where the band is doing everything right. Midtempo chopping, vicious and almost mean sounding and armed with all kinds of surgical instruments, CARCASS paves the way here with much confidence. The strength of ‘The Master Butcher's Apron’ lies in the alternation of the melody, the howling blast-beats and almost doom-like parts which work here in an excellent way. ‘Noncompliance To ASTM F-899 12 Standard’ has a groove and a melody that somehow reminds on the song ‘Heartwork’ and has all the qualities to become a real ‘hit’. The same goes for ‘The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills’ - with its very catchy '6, 2, 2, 6, 9, 6, 1’ - chorus - and the songs ‘Unfit For Human Consumption’, ‘316L Surgical Grade Steel’ and ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ (already released as a single) which - thanks to the mix of chopping and galloping riffs, fast drumming and the singing of Walker remind very much on their older work and at times even their Grind period. The very long, epic, slow and rather melodic ‘Mount Of Execution’ closes this comeback album in an impressive manner. I have listened to “Surgical Steel” in the meantime already probably around thirty times and I still haven’t discovered any really weak moments here. The album does however need a few spins to really stick in your head but that’s only a positive thing to my opinion. I hope that CARCASS may enjoy their second youth for a very long time.,

Steven Willems

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