by Matthew Hoffman
The Earache re-releases of Carcass’ legendary death metal CDs have been as good as any in the history of metal. The last one of the lot is their cleaned up version of the bands final release Swansong. It also includes part five of a mini-documentary series entitled “The Pathologist’s Report” as bonus video material, as well as expanded artwork and a free sticker sheet (for the discerning Carcass fans three year old sons).
This is the most diverse, pure and clean metal of any of the bands albums, and also happens to be the least respected. Hopefully this special re-issue will help to change that perception, because this cleaner, amazing, slightly soulful version of Carcass that purists pan as not “real” is actually one hell of a metal CD! It should be viewed as its own work and not compared erroneously to the band’s prior material. Carcass, much like Megadeth, was able to replace their second guitarist and not miss a beat.
New band member Carlo Regadas came in for that role with the departure of the multi-talented Michael Amott (who left to form Arch Enemy), but the band’s core of Bill Steer on lead guitar, Jeff Walker on vocals and Ken Owen on drums stayed the same.
The shrill downtuned guitars that had made the band so popular with axe heads changed quite a bit and were slanted towards traditional metal leads and solos. These solos were cleaner and more soulful but still very highly charged. Gone were the horse sounding shrill distortion leads (that Bill Steer became famous for “naming”) and in place were a more mature playing style that took Steer to that next level of guitar hero.
The music on the album has only slight resemblances to their early grind-core roots and was pretty much melodic death metal by this stage of the game.
The vocals on this record as with all Carcass albums are the best of the best as Jeff Walker describes real life normal things vs. the medical dictionary spewing of the English band’s early years.
Carcass is really the only band that changed styles with virtually every album but never “sold out.” That occurred because the band kept its hellacious rough edge and always delivered a sensational product.
And the band has reunited including Michael Amott (minus Ken Owen-physical issues) and has been touring off their classic material for the past nine months.
People are dreaming for new original material from the legends but it seems at this point to be highly unlikely, though that’s what Thrash legend Testament said two years before their 2008 smash hit Formation of Damnation.
This album is a very well played metal record from start to finish and is a must hear for every single head banger on this earth!! Great Job Earache!
Label: Earache Records
Bill Steer – Guitar/Vocals
Carlo Regadas – Guitar
Jeff Walker – Bass/Vocals
Ken Owen – Drums
1. Keep On Rotting in the Free World
2. Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody
3. Black Star
4. Cross My Heart
5. Child’s Play
6. Room 101
8. Generation Hexed
9. Firm Hand
10. R**k the Vote
11. Don’t Believe a Word
12. Go to Hell
HRH Rating: 8.5/10