Archive for Carcass

Beyond Grace – Monstrous [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Beyond Grace
Monstrous
Released February 2014
Extreme melodic death metal
Self-released

It’s with no mean frequency that the phrase ‘If it ain’t got riff, it ain’t worth a fuck!’ tumbles from these lips. Nothing turns me off from an extreme band more than constant noise or technicality for the sake of it. It just doesn’t spell out H-E-A-V-Y to me. Some of my favourite metal albums are those that punch a middle finger into the face of convention, blast beats swirling effortlessly into percussive grooves. Think Carcass Heartwork or Bloodbath‘s opus The Fathomless Mastery (especially At The Behest Of The Dead! Damn! That chorus!).

It’s such a shame that the UK bands taking this particular musical bull by the horns are vastly outnumbered by those who pump out the same old trend-oriented metal pudding as everyone else, but those who do tend to hit me in a special place.

Step up, Nottingham’s Beyond Grace – a band who seem to have set out to make writing an actual tune part of their purpose for existence. From the first moments of opening track The Chronophage – which I believe roughly means ‘the time-eater’ – it’s obvious that this lot don’t care much for fitting in to the preconceived notions of either the current UK death scene or mainstream extreme metal (Yup, I said it. It’s a thing now!), while brushing shoulders with both. The song is an easy choice for an opener, kicking off with a bombastic announcement of power-chords, shamelessly declaring “We are here! Listen!”, but it’s the intelligent introduction of complementary lead-work that really makes it stand out.

And they’re no one-trick-pony, either. Progressing to the accompanying tracks, Inhumanity and Invasive Exotics, they churn out riff after riff of addictive, individual brutality. While more consistently fast-paced, these two numbers guide the listener through a bit of an experiment in combining elements of rhythmic divergence and harmonious exaltation. The entire EP is dripping with all the best bits of At The Gates, Lamb Of God and The Haunted, without really sounding like any of them. I think I even sense the echoes of 80s thrash in there, but that could just be decades-old tinnitus.

It’s also worthy of note that frontman Andy Walmsley is one of the few who can really nail down clarity of lyrical content while dealing in full-on death metal vocals. It’s not something that everybody will care about, and to be fair, I do love a whole load of bands who haven’t achieved this, but I find it adds a little something being able tap into the story aspect of a heavy song on first listen.

I’d really like to hear full-length continuation of this style, but maybe with a more aggressive, rawer production, as it feels something is missing in terms of bite, and the whole thing is over far too soon for my liking. That said, this is a gripping, memorable release, proving, to these ears at least, that you don’t have to ditch any sense of melody and/or hooks to keep up with the pace of modern heaviness. More of this kind of thing!

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Carcass guitarist Bill Steer wants to write another album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th December 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bill Steer, guitarist for the legendary Carcass, recently stated in an interview that he’d like to write and release another studio album. Bill Steer said in the aforementioned interview with Metalshrine the following:

Yeah. There’s a mutual agreement between us that we’d like to do one. There’s an awareness that if we can get through the next seven months of touring and festivals and still like each other and feel good about this, we definitely want to do a record. There’s loads of lessons we learnt on this one and while I’ve still got it fresh in my head, I want to build on that. It’s fun, but it’s a really challenging thing to do because I haven’t done anything creatively in this genre of music for so long, but it suddenly felt very fresh. I had escaped it because it was too limited in my mind and after a few years of doing other styles of music, I found there were new limitations with that and I wanted to go back and do extreme music again. [laughs] You can never be 100% happy, but right now this is what I like doing. As I said, it’s a challenge and probably more so now than ever, because it’s hard to be innovative in this music. There’s a lot of incredible players out there. Especially the American guys, they’re treating it like a sport and the drummers especially and you have to admire the dedication and tenacity, but I also think this music has to have a little bit of soul and maybe some swing.

In the interview, he also stated that Andy Sneap would definitely be the producer for the next album. The full interview with Metalshrine can be read here.

Carcass online:

http://facebook.com/OfficialCarcass

 

Three more bands confirmed for Bloodstock

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Hannah

Lacuna Coil, Carcass and Primordial have been announced as the latest acts on an increasingly epic bill for Bloodstock Open Air 2014!

Italian metallers Lacuna Coil will be bringing their sonic wall of Gothic-tinged sound to Catton Hall for the second time, performing the Ronnie James Dio stage on the Saturday. Frontwoman Cristina Scabbia reflected on their return with a sneak peek of what fans can expect from their set:

“It will be LACUNA COIL’s second time there and I’m curious to see how the festival has grown.  We will have songs from the new album and some LC classics, so see ya all in the summer!”

The legendary Carcass will be acting as Saturday’s Special Guests , and after their triumphant debut release with Nuclear Blast, Surgical Steel, gained wide acclaim and rave reviews, they have promised to be ‘firing on all cylinders’ with their set. Also announced are Irish gaelic metal outfit Primordial, returning after a victorious set in 2011. This may be one of your only opportunities to catch them next year, so don’t miss it. All three bands join an exceptional roster including Emperor, Down, Megadeth, Saxon and Amon Amarth, and with Early Bird tickets selling fast, it might be time to secure your place at what is promising to be the metal event of the year.

As Jeff Walker commands, “Let there be rot!”

Primordial confirmed for Bloodstock 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Gaelic metal warriors Primordial have announced that they’ll be playing Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2014, with bands such as Carcass, Lacuna Coil, Emperor, Megadeth and more, as well as label mates Amon Amarth.

Bloodstock will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 7th-10th August 2014. Keep up to date with the very latest info on Bloodstock’s official sites at this location (Official Facebook) and this location (Official Website).

Primordial online:

http://primordialweb.com
http://facebook.com/primordialofficial

 

Andy Sneap, Kev Bower and Bill Steer discuss ultimate tour line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 12th November 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Legendary British metal acts Hell and Carcass kick off their UK tour with none other than Swedish Viking death metal maestros Amon Amarth today. As such, the bands’ label Nuclear Blast decided to get Carcass’s Bill Steer and Hell’s Andy Sneap and Kev Bower together to discuss their ultimate tour line-up and why they want to see those bands on the same line-up. The discussion can be viewed below.

Catch Carcass, Hell, Amon Amarth and Bleed Within in the cities below:

Nov 12 – Birmingham o2 Academy
Nov 13 – Manchester o2 Academy
Nov 14 – Glasgow Barrowland
Nov 15 – Bristol o2 Academy
Nov 17 – London Forum

Damnation 2013: Bands you must see!

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Featured with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

The days are counting down until Damnation Festival once again lays waste to the city of Leeds with a truly heavy, dark and spectacular line-up. Here’s our list of bands you must go see at this year’s Damnation…

Rotting Christ

Chosen by Iza Raittila.

For those who are fed up with all the gimmicks present in today’s black and death metal scenes, be sure to check out Rotting Christ at this year’s Damnation Festival. These guys prove once and for all that there’s really no need for corpse-paint or fancy, “evil” looking stage-props to put on a great show. They rely solely on their energy and skills as musicians to win over the crowds. You won’t be disappointed.

Carcass

Chosen by Alex Cook.

The legendary Carcass are due to headline this year’s Damnation festival and I have heard from many people that they are the ONLY band that they are bothered about seeing. This in many ways is a shame, but such is the power of a band that so many metal fans grew up listening to. Carcass are easily one of the more accessibly Death metal bands, although suitably graphic in their lyrics, their real strength lies in the accessibility of their riffs and the urge they produce in us to bang our heads with complete abandon. I was listening to my copy of Heartwork recently (on cassette no less) and was struck by the fact that despite it being 10 years old, it still sounds fresh and heavy without being over-bearing. It is an album that leaves on imprint on your musical memory, so that when anyone mentions the band or you hear a snippet of No Love Lost, Embodiment or Doctrinal Expletives to name but a few, you are reminded why you first fell in love with the genre in the first place. That, and Carcass’s new album Surgical Steel is something of a quiet masterpiece. Unpretentious and all-encompassing, it delivers on everything we expect from Carcass which is solid, accessible and memorable material. If you’re still not sure about the merits of Carcass, let them entertain you at Damnation festival. I am certain that even if you just stick your head around the door, you will be enchanted and undoubtedly end up in the pit that ensues whenever Carcass play live.

God Seed

Chosen by Hannah O’Flanagan.

If you’re asking me why you should go and see God Seed, I’ll ask you why you’re attending Damnation at all. Made from the fall out of the Gorgoroth name dispute saga, God Seed is Gaahl and King ov Hell‘s new project that delivers insanely atmospheric black metal as only Gaahl and KoH can. They’ve triumphantly appeared at Wacken and supported Cradle of Filth on their Manticore tour, and I can guarantee the experience of watching God Seed perform will be like no other. Their 2012 debut I Begin is a good place to start if you still don’t believe me. But stand before the infernal glory of God Seed and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Vallenfyre

Chosen by Alex Cook.

Vallenfyre are also a band to look out for at Damnation. They are something of a super-group for those whose hearts belong to early 90’s Doom and Death metal, and they do not disappoint. Featuring Gregor Mackintosh from Paradise Lost, Hamish Glencross from My Dying Bride and Adrian Erlandsson of At the Gates, you get the impression from their releases that it is just a bit of fun and that the members are stretching their wings and proving they have a capacity for a genre separate from how they have made their names. Their album A Fragile King’is engrossing and infectious and just pure, crushing, dirty death metal. Tracks such as Desecration, Cathedrals of Dread and A Thousand Martyrs reek of the infamous Boss HM2 pedal which makes any Entombed fan salivate at the mouth and it is used to spectacular effect. Expect nothing but great things if you catch them at Damnation and be sure to pick up a copy of A Fragile King beforehand so your appetite for the old school is suitably whetted.

Dyscarnate

Chosen by Nico Davidson.

No Damnation line-up would be complete without a slab of face-crushing, ear-splitting death metal and that’s exactly what Dyscarnate offer. Be it recorded or live, Dyscarnate‘s crushing use of riffs will utterly abuse you and leaving you begging for more like a glutton for punishment. Having already devastated venues across the UK and toured with bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse and most recently Psycroptic and Hour Of PenanceDyscarnate are at the front of the UK’s death metal and represent everything good about it!

Katatonia

Chosen by Lauren Gowdy.

Although their songs aren’t as fast as a majority of the bands playing Damnation Festival, Katatonia is one band that everyone should check out. Their playing is heavy and slow but filled with so much emotion that it literally will suck you into their set. Not to mention that their stage presence is captivating, and you may either find yourself headbanging slowly along with the riffs or just standing and observing the sheer awesomeness of their set. Anyone who is a fan of Opeth should definitely check out Katatonia because both bands are very similar only difference being that Katatonia does not have as many heavy songs as Opeth. They will be worth sticking around to see towards the end of the day, and I guarantee you will remember their set!

Iron Witch

Chosen by Nico Davidson.

Liverpudlian doom noise mongers Iron Witch are definitely one to keep an eye out for at Damnation this year. Straying from the classic doom sound, the Scouser quintet incorporate hardcore punk vibes and gritty riffs with their doomesque connoction that has helped put themselves on a map. Being relatively young compared to the vast majority of the Damnation line-up and other bands on the British doom scene, Iron Witch have had their fair share of success and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t reach the same level as Liverpudlian doom overlords Anathema.

Twilight Of The Gods

Chosen by Ian Foster.

One of the many band who will be appearing at the Damnation Festival 2013 are Twilight Of The Gods, a five piece band who were initially formed with the intent of paying tribute to the legendary Bathory and writing music inspired by them. The band have just released their debut album Fire On The Mountain. The band includes members of Primordial, Lock Up, Einherjer, Thyrfing and Aura Noir so there’s some real pedigree involved here and there’s far more than Bathory worship going on. You can definitely hear a lot of influence from the classic metal bands on the Fire On The Mountain album, but after all it’s what the band set out to do. Definitely a band for fans of old school heavy metal to check out at the festival.

[Editor’s note: If you didn’t see Primordial at last year’s Damnation, TOTG are the next best thing]

Damnation Festival will take palce on 2nd November at Leeds University Union. Tickets are available from this location.

Carcass – Surgical Steel

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 6th October 2013 by Contra Mundi

Carcass
Surgical Steel
Released 16 September 2013
Death Metal/Grindcore
Released via Nuclear Blast

I have been a fan of Carcass for quite some time. I inherited a copy of Heartwork on cassette from my sister and I never gave her it back despite her ardent requests. I now have at least 3 different copies of that album and even though it seems ridiculous, such is my obsession. Carcass have always been a band unlike any other. They share influences with other bands and are a product of what was a very exciting time for metal music in the early 90’s, but they have always held their own quietly and without a hint of pretence despite them being one of the most iconic bands in recent history that fans love returning to again and again.

Carcass as far as I’m concerned are on a pedestal and I was quite apprehensive as well as overwhelmingly excited when they revealed they would be making a return with a new album and accompanying live dates. My fear was that they would just regurgitate all that had come before, or that they would have forgotten about the essence of Carcass and their accessible grandeur. Another fear was that they would fall into the ‘faster than thou’ mentality that occupies the death metal genre nowadays; not that it is a problem, it just wouldn’t be Carcass. Everyone I spoke to wanted the new album to remind them why they still maintained their affection for Carcass. They didn’t want that affection to become shameful if the band released something half arsed and conformist; although we need never have been afraid of that.

As soon as the artwork for the new album was released, I knew that Carcass were going to deliver the goods with Surgical Steel. The perfect circle of surgical instruments on the cover was both subtle and shocking; something that Carcass are masters at and it is with that mentality that I approached my listening.

The album begins with the trademark Carcass guitar harmonies and a ringing solo over the top that draws you slowly in only to be thrown back by the aggressive and impressive Thrashers Abbatoir. This song is pure Carcass, but not only that, it is Carcass grown up and this impression shapes the feel of the whole album. It is surgical in its precision and beautifully crafted with all the necessary elements of a Carcass formula, that is enticing vocal hooks, full bodied guitar harmonies and just the right amount of technicality without being silly.

Any self-respecting guitarist would be impressed by the solos in Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System and frankly, they’re enough to make you sick with jealousy. It reminded me a lot in its technicality and youth of Children of Bodom’s Something Wild where the guitars are used as more than accompanying instruments. They are pushed to the foreground and speak as frequently and in the same tone as the growled, hoarse vocals of Jeff Walker. Incidentally, Jeffs vocals have not altered at all over the years and therein lies another boon for the album. It is as if he has stepped out of a time machine, and his growl is one of the most recognised in death metal. He is both perfectly articulated and full of malice and his great appeal for a lot of people is that you can actually follow what he is saying very easily.

The Master Butcher’s Apron with its ringing guitar harmonies, impeccable drumming and thick chugging riffs is one of my favourite on the album and is a display again of Carcass’s maturity, musical ability and incredible talent for song writing. There is variety without being random and a real sense that Carcass as a collective enjoyed making the album and that they don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

The track Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard stampedes away and shows odd extremely impressive guitar work even further and expresses musical prowess that imitators can only dream of. Carcass are undoubtedly a set of formidable musicians and the originality of their music and song writing as progressed as much as they have, although it still retains that remarkable and age defying feel they exposed us all to during the early 90’s and their subsequent releases.

A surprising track on the album and very revealing of Carcass’s talents is the ultimate track on the album: Mount of Execution that makes use of acoustic guitars in its introduction and offers something of a remarkable contrast and display of musical ability. The latter half of the song is intense and full of menace. Jeff’s vocals really add a sense of terror that when coupled with the chugging guitars and ridiculously articulate guitar solos form a sound that we die-hard Carcass fans have been longing for over the years.

Overall, Surgical Steel is extremely impressive and worthy of all the hype it has been given. It is something of a legend and Carcass are a remarkable band for delivering so completely to a legion of fans with such high expectations. It is enjoyable, accessible and doesn’t saddle itself with a crippling narrative or unnecessary embellishment. It is just a representation of all that Carcass are and it displays all of the band’s best qualities in the best possible way. They could have easily taken the formulas of their previous releases and rehashed them, but they didn’t. They improved themselves and injected maturity as well as a compassion for their fan base into their work in order to deliver something that is true to the heart of Carcass and cannot be imitated; no matter how hard we try.

If you haven’t already got yourself a ticket for the Damnation festival in Leeds, I strongly suggest that you do so, or face missing out on an event that all of your friends will be talking about for years to come. Carcass leave a distinct impression when they play live as they articulate their albums perfectly and show off their talents almost to the point of obscenity and only a fool would willingly miss such a display of power. If in doubt, pick up a copy of Surgical Steel and have a taste of what can only be described as a monumental album.

5/5

Alex Cook

Carcass online:

http://facebook.com/officialcarcass