Carcass - Swansong (1996)Release ID: 782
1993's "Heartwork" took a while for me to come around to but once I did it really dug it's teeth in & I found a lot to enjoy. A part of me undoubtedly still craved the excitement & aggression of their previous two classic death metal albums but the professionalism & class that the "Heartwork" material possessed was more than enough to satisfy my Carcass cravings. By the time "Swansong" came around I was quite open to the idea of Carcass presenting me with a cleaner & more melodic brand of metal. In fact my expectations for their follow-up were very high.
On the day of release I raced home from the record store & chucked it into the CD player in great haste. What ensued was unexpected though. That first listen was a strange experience for me. The production & performances were clearly top notch with some impressive guitar solos & some great vocals from Jeff Walker but something was still very.... different..... & I must admit that I haven't really come to grips with it even today. Many of these are rock & roll songs in both style & structure only performed using death metal tools. The song-writing is not amazing but it's not horrible either so it would appear that my major problem with the album comes from a mostly stylistic viewpoint. The music is simply not aggressive enough for my taste. Songs like "R**k The Vote", "Generation Hexed" & "Go To Hell" sound so "easy listening" that they really don't get close to fulfilling my extreme metal needs. They are really no heavier than post-"Rust In Peace" Megadeth & in all these years I've never been able to get my head around that fact. That being said there is the odd track that I quite enjoy here. "Black Star" is pretty catchy & album highlight "Don't Believe A Word" really gets me going. Unfortunately the rest of the album just feels a little flat to me. I was happy to hear of the band's reformation & subsequent album as I have never considered this to be a fitting "Swansong" for a band as great as Carcass.