Carcass is a pioneering grindcore
and melodic death metal band from Liverpool, England. The band formed in 1985 and is now touring again. Carcass is known for introducing arcane medical terms to song titles and lyrics and for adding a stunning melodic component to death metal, particularly on the album Heartwork.
Carcass was one of the first extreme metal bands to sign with a major label and have been an influence on artists across metal genres.
The band was formed by guitarist Bill Steer, who moonlighted in Napalm Death,
along with drummer Ken Owen. Carcass recorded their first album Reek of Putrefaction
in less than week. Despite the often primitive production the album is considered a grindcore classic. Songs from Reek are covered by bands like Pig Destroyer. The album was the first to feature a collage of body parts and slabs of meat on the cover and the 2008 reissue is packaged in a plastic bag to hide the artwork.
On Symphonies of Sickness Carcass began their transition to death metal with songs like “Exhume to Consume.” The album also featured much improved production and disturbing cover art.
Melodic Death Metal:
Carcass began their transition to death metal in earnest with Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious.
The album showcased the lead guitars of Michael Amott, who would go on to form the widely popular metal band Arch Enemy.
The band then released Heartwork
(1993), which abandoned medical topics and themes and featured even more intricate melodies and some of the band’s most-well known songs including “No Love Lost.”
Breakup And Reunion:
Carcass inked a lucrative recording deal with Columbia Records and began to work on the album that would become Swansong. But the band was quickly dropped and finished Swanwong for Earache. Carcass broke up in 1995 but continued to be a wide influence and reunited to wide acclaim in 2008. Original drummer Ken Owen, who suffered a brain hemorrhage and fell into a coma in 1999, makes special appearances with the band but cannot play a full set.
After playing a couple of years of reunion shows, Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson left the band to focus on Arch Enemy. Jeff Walker and Bill Steer recruited drummer Daniel Wilding and recorded Surgical Steel, which was released in 2013.
If You Like Carcass, You May Want To Check Out:
Current Band Members:
Jeff Walker - Vocals, Bass (Brujeria, Electro Hippies)
Bill Steer - Backing Vocals, Guitars (Napalm Death, Firebird)
Ben Ash - Guitars
Daniel Wilding - Drums
Former Band Members:
Sanjiv - Vocals (1985–1987)
Mike Hickey - Guitars (1993–1995)
Carlo Regadas - Guitars (1995)
Michael Amott - Guitars (1990-1993, 2007-2012)
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums (2007-2012)
Ken Owen - Drums (1985–1995)
1988 Reek of Putrefaction
1989 Symphonies of Sickness
1991 Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious
2013 Surgical Steel
Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious
Many metal fans conside Heartwork
Carcass’ masterpiece, and they are correct. Nonetheless, I would recommend the band’s third disc because it bridges the gaps between the band’s raw early output and their more accessible songs. Songs like “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” move as well as anything on Heartwork
but have a rougher edge. Carcass also hadn’t stopped using medical terms on this album; many of the songs talk about novel ways to dispose of dead bodies.