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 affirmed 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. Voivod, Carcass, Napalm Death, Obituary, and Herod would use the Deathcrusher monicker on a European tour in the autumn of 2015. Rock band Gentlemans Pistols, which features Carcass guitarist Bill Steer, used Carcass’ deal with the label to also sign with Nuclear Blast. The band's third album, Hustler's Row, would be released late 2015. Carcass and Testament were opening for Slayer in North America. Bassist and singer Jeff Walker of Carcass broke a bone in his left foot on March 19th 2016 as the band was about to give a concert in Seattle, Washington, USA. The man was continuing on the road. Carcass was opening for Slayer and Testament. Carcass was in North America for the One Foot In The Grave 2016 headlining tour. The band was touring until August 6th including performances at Chicago Open Air Festival as well as Heavy MTL. Crowbar, Ghoul and Night Demon would provide support. Carcass would return to North America for a headlining tour in November. Joining the band were Deafheaven and doom band Inter Arma. Slated to commence on November 7th and run through November 27th, the band’s latest tour followed the One Foot In The Grave headlining tour with Crowbar, Ghoul and Night Demon that summer. Twisted Sister played what they announced as their last concert on Saturday, November 12th at the Corona Northside Rock Park Meeting Fest at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico. Also on the bill were Carcass and Sepultura. Carcass replaced live guitarist Ben Ash with Tom Draper (ex-Angel Witch and Primitai). US-based Draper made his debut with the UK grindcore band at the Netherlands’ Deathfest. Carcass’ Torn Arteries album was postponed to August. Its title was a tribute to previous drummer Owen. The act released an EP, entitled Despicable, through Nuclear Blast on 30.10.2020. The band’s full-length was postponed due to the pandemic.
CARCASS - WAKE UP AND SMELL THE - EARACHE
Quite why Earache decided to release this Carcass sampler/epitaph is not clear. The label would probably cite the usual final tribute or final legacy
phrase. Me, cynic me, would bet on contract fulfilment or one last stab at earning money from Carcass as a more likely explanation. Whatever the
case, the disc is not useless as it contains five songs from the band's ill-fated
final album Swan Song. Yet, the question is, why not just send out that
album? Again, whatever the answer those five tracks clearly demonstrate
that Carcass' demise was a good thing. A very good thing. No matter what the sleeve notes do and go on and on turning from an avant-garde, pioneering and extremist grindcore act to a Megadeth clone is not my idea of progression. The band realising this themselves, tries to nip the criticism in the bud by penning a tune called I Told You So (Corporate Rock Does Really Suck). Yet the truth remains that the newer tunes do really suck. Regardless, the seventeen tracks on the CD span the entire Carcass career from the early grindcore to the recent, and, of course, no real Carcass fan is going to miss this. Another topic for thought would be the corporate world’s vicious and deliberate attempt at stifling metal. By signing successful bands such as Entombed, Carcass and Sepultura and in one case delaying the band for three years, in another refusing to release the album altogether or in yet other cases duly dropping the band after one album and citing lack of sales they insinuate that this style is not viable. When in fact the bands out-sell their previous releases without the labels investing anything in these acts to begin with! This vicious plot will obviously fail at the end, but still it is a pain to see major labels market puke like Korn as metal. - Ali "The Metallian"
CARCASS - CHOICE CUTS - EARACHE
It was inevitable that Earache would rake in some more cash from Carcass by releasing a retrospective sampler of sorts. This one, at least, features rare material recorded for BBC Radio's John Peel Show. It is these '80s songs like Reek Of Putrefaction and Slash Dementia that represent Carcass' most influential and innovative period. Carcass, inarguably, remains the single biggest source of inspiration to tons of gore and grind bands. Choice Cuts, by the way, was the title of a CD by a Carcass-inspired band a couple of years ago, namely Impaled. The CD also features material from subsequent albums like Heartwork which are certainly worth owning. Nevertheless, it is clear that towards the end the band was losing its ingenuity and the decision to call it a day was a wise one. The track This Is Your Life is as uninventive as they come.
Regardless, Choice Cuts is a prime CD slab if Carcass is not already in one's collection. The CD features additional archival material and interviews giving it even more value for money. And one last thing, the cover idea is brilliant. - Ali "The Metallian"