Carcass - Surgical Steel (2013)Release ID: 783
I've given "Surgical Steel" some time to sink in & it's now time to throw in my two cents worth. The first thing I noticed was how awesome the production is. It sounds bloody brilliant in my opinion. Forget all the talk about clicky kick drum sounds. Yes it's got some click (no more than the latest Gorguts which doesn't seem to offend people) but it's also got some depth & I actually find the change in drummer quite refreshing. I think it has certainly contributed to the extra energy found on this album. The musicianship is absolutely top notch & the guitar solos are amongst the most meaningful & well thought out in metal these days. Jeff's vocals are very good. Maybe not quite as good as on their classic material but still right up there for this type of music. I was disappointed that there wasn't more of Bill's vocals after all the talk about his comeback to the mike stand though.
As for where the band is stylistically I have a bit of mixture of positive & negative feedback really. Yes there are some fast blasting sections on offer (which sound suspiciously like riffs off their classic albums to me) but I wouldn't call the majority of the album death metal exactly. It's really a homage to classic heavy metal & thrash metal. It may be more energetic than "Heartwork" but it's also a lot more melodic & subsequently doesn't have as dark an atmosphere as the classic Carcass albums. I was never entirely OK with the way that "Heartwork" was labelled as melodic death metal whereas this one seems to fit that term much more comfortably.
There's plenty of riffs that leave me thinking "Where have I heard that before?" "Unfit For Human Consumption" is a prime example. It opens with what are basically variations on classic riffs out of Megadeth's "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" & "Wake Up Dead". "A Congealed Clot Of Blood" starts with a couple that are extremely similar to Disincarnate's "Stench Of Paradise Burning" & Deicide's "Sacrificial Suicide". And there are also plenty of moments where you can hear old Carcass riffs reworked. Strangely I'm OK with this as the production & execution makes the whole feel fresh.
Overall I'm giving it a 3.5/5 but that mostly comes down to taste. I think it's a quality release but it's really a bit too far in the melodic direction for my liking. I can't deny that the production & musicianship makes it an entertaining listen for me anyway though.