Liverpool's (home to perennial football stars) Carcass was unique in the grindcore scene for using accurate medical terminology, having roots in a famous underground fanzine, Napalm Death (Steer was at first in both bands prior to Symphonies...) and, oh, grinding like there's no tomorrow.
The band's first two albums are the classics of the genre having influenced many a band and having the honour of being censored repeatedly. Necroticism sees the addition of Swedish/British guitarist Michael Amott as a second guitarist and becoming a little more accessible. A little thrashier and less grinding, Heartwork's release seemed to herald the arrival of a major metal band. The album also featured an HR Geiger work on the cover as opposed to the flesh of the past. At this point the band toured with Bodycount, juxtaposed against previous tours with the likes of Death, Entombed and Napalm Death, and affirms its future intentions.
Alas, internal squabbling, dislike for extreme metal and a fiasco of signing and suffering through a major delay and getting dropped by a major label (Columbia) even before releasing an album meant Swansong was self-referencing. By the time of release of Swansong (again back on Earache) the band had already called it a day. The band was part of the Gods Of Grind tour package of Earache and threw Steer out of the band shortly before disbanding.
Earache Records issued a long-delayed Carcass compilation called Choice Cuts in 2004. Originally slated for release in 1999, the compilation was shelved by the label following the news of drummer Ken Owen's critical illness. The disc was issued in June. In the meanwhile, Arch Enemy covered the band.
Former singer Jeff Walker entered Foel Studio in Wales in the autumn of 2004 in order to record some vocals for the new Napalm Death album. He also played in Brujeria in 2006. In an interview with Closeup magazine in late summer of 2007, Mike Amott discussed the possibility of a Carcass reunion. Apparently, the band minus drummer Ken Owen, had even rehearsed. Plans were shelved pending the completion of Arch Enemy’s touring cycle in support of its album Rise Of The Tyrant. Jeff Walker was to make a guest appearance on the 2009 Cypher album, which was due through Rusty Cage Records. The band mounted the stage for the very first time in June as part of the Sweden Rock Show. Arch Enemy drummer Daniel Erlandsson supported the band, although original drummer Ken Owen briefly appeared on stage despite his illness. The band would tour the world in the coming months. Carcass, 1349, Necrophagist, Suffocation, Aborted and Rotten Sound announced a tour of North America in late summer. The band was picked as support for Iron Maiden for two Mexican shows on the 25th and 28th of Februay, 2009. The band would tour the USA again in March using the Exhumed To Consume II tour monicker.
Carcass was mentioned in a 2001 episode of American serial Friends titled, The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress. In the episode, the character Phoebe suggests Carcass as a band that could play Monica’s wedding. Bill Steer and Jeff Walker also appeared in the Timeslides episode of Red Dwarf in 1989.
The band signed with Nuclear Blast Records in 2013. The band’s demo was presented to the label in-person in Germany. The band’s Surgical Steel album was due in September. The group signed on to open for Amon Amarth in Europe. Bill Steer and Jeff Walker of Carcass recruited guitarist Ben Ash (Pig Iron, Desolation, etc.) and drummer Dan Wilding (Aborted and Trigger The Bloodshed) for touring purposes. Surgical Steel was out now. The band was also playing at Kirk Hammet’s Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEvil in San Francisco in 2014. In 2014, Carcass recorded several songs – The Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System, Unfit For Human Consumption, Captive Bolt Pistol and Carneous Cacoffiny – at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London, England for a BBC Radio 1 session. Gore metal band Exhumed, Carcass and Noisem would tour the USA in the autumn of 2014. The shows began on October 24th in San Diego and were dubbed the Inked In Steel Tour 2014. Macabre would open for the band at five shows. Carcass would issue an EP of previously unreleased or rare tracks that November. Titled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel the music was recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions and produced by Colin Richardson. The band was refused a visa to play Malaysia in 2015. After protesting and mocking Malaysia by posting that country’s flag upside down a number of Malaysian fans expressed disapproval on the band’s web page. Apparently, the band was denied a visa due to its lyrical content. Cancer signed with Peaceville in 2018 and scheduled the release of an album tentatively called Shadow Gripped. It was recorded with Simon Efemy (Wolfsbane, The Exploited, etc.). The band released Shadow Gripped through Peaceville on November 2. The record was taped at Foel studios in Wales with Simon Efemy. The band issued the Ballcutter EP in 2019. It featured several odds and ends songs.
CANCER - SPIRIT IN FLAMES - COPRO
"UK death metal legends" proclaims the bio and makes one wonder whether the band Cancer believes itself in the same league as Pluto, Aristotle, Einstein or musically in the same level as Possessed, Slayer or Death. Let me assure you that the hyperbole is unjustified.
Apparently, there was no reason for English band Cancer to regroup. The band went away after signing a contract with a major, getting dropped after a shoddy release and now wants us to believe it is back again for real. Well, not with such musical output. The album is mostly downright bad. The riffs are mundane and derivative, the production inferior and the structure generally unpolished, but what is really working against the band is the vocals of John Walker. Even studio effects cannot save his powerless growl-cum-spoken word. He has no business behind a microphone whatsoever. The couple of respectable riffs and solos would have given Spirit In Flames a measure of passability, yet given the rest of the music and the aforementioned vocals the band's comeback album is absolutely a no-go area for fans. At least the album's title is right on! - Ali "The Metallian"