Reek Of Putrefaction review by Carcass

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  • Released: May 31, 1988
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (3 votes)
Carcass: Reek Of Putrefaction

Sound — 6
I'm sure many of you are familiar with the notorious production on this album due to sound issues caused by Mike Ivory experimenting with the drum tracks. On the opening track, "Genital Grinder", this doesn't seem pose a whole lot of listening problems. The murkiness of the record sets a tremendous, sinister, and sickening atmosphere. However, the bass is barely audiable on many of the tracks except for "Splattered Cavities" and "Malignant Defecation", and the biggest instrument that suffers here are the drums. At times they seem to be covered up by the snarl of the guitars, but when Ken unleashes blast beats, the whole thing transforms into a mess of noise. The vocals also fell backwards because of the production, but you can still make out most of the pitch-shifting they were trying to do with them. The musicianship, while childish in a sense, is definetley agressive and ready to destroy. Unfortunateley, this is why this album falls behind "Symphonies Of Sickness". The majority of the songs are basically a load of riffs-albiet some pretty creative ones - thrown together, with lots of screaming and speed drumming. Still, while it lacks technicality, it is a very sick and brutal production, in a positive aspect.

Lyrics — 10
This is Carcass in thier pathological glory days. Many of the songs lyrics are straight up sickening, such as "Vomited Anal Tract" and "Microwaved Uterogestation", while others are less medical driven, like "Burnt To A Crisp" and "Festerday". Understanding the lyrics requires a fair knowledge of forensic and pathalogical terminology, but universally, its pretty understandable. Some songs require you to just laugh at the fact you simply cannot deduce what the lyrics are trying to convey; I'm looking at you, "Mucopurulence Excretor". Since the band's old singer, Sanjiv had quit, the power trio decided to share vocal duties. Bill does the now ultra classic gluttural belch, Jeff wreched out the punk-like scream snarls, and Ken threw in the voices that were loaded with effects to make it sound not human. All three wrote lyrics for the album. For the time and even today, mixing splatter lyrics and the newley birthed punishing grindcore was found to be like peaches and cream.

Overall Impression — 9
Being the grindcore fanatic that I am, I owe it to this album putting the hook in me and introducing me to Carcass' awesome later albums. While it seems to fall behind in any professional category, it truely shines in the grindcore arena, simply because it is a lost cause to try and get any sicker and more extreme. The production is the bittersweet defining moment; it makes the album sound like a series of cheaply documented murders by a psychopath, but prevents accurate listening and finding out what the musicians are actually playing. In concluding, sorry, Lord Gore, Embalmer, and Cannibal Corpse, you're not quite hitting the target like these guys did 20 years ago.

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    In concluding, sorry, Lord Gore, Embalmer, and Cannibal Corpse, you're not quite hitting the target like these guys did 20 years ago
    In a lot of ways true...