Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel [EP] Review

artist: Carcass date: 11/18/2014 category: compact discs
Carcass: Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel [EP]
Released: Nov 14, 2014
Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Death 'n' Roll
Label: Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 5
This is a collection of unreleased songs and bonus tracks from the studio sessions for Carcass' last album, "Surgical Steel."
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 7
 Overall Impression: 7
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overall: 7
Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel [EP] Featured review by: UG Team, on november 18, 2014
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Carcass formed in 1985, though they weren't known under that name until 1987. The band's first album, "Reek of Putrefaction," was recorded in only 4 days and caught the attention of John Peel, which resulted in their involvement with a "Peel Session" in 1989. Their next album, "Symphonies of Sickness," saw much better production quality, and eventually led to the addition of Michael Amott (who would later go on to form Arch Enemy) as second lead guitarist of the band during their supporting tour of the album. The band is credited with being an early example of, or a contributing band towards the grindcore, goregrind and melodic death metal genres. The band has broken up by the release of their fifth album, "Swansong." The members went on with their various projects, though drummer, Ken Owen, had a cerebral hemorrhage in 1999 which effectively sidelined his career. Carcass reformed in 2007, originally for a reunion tour or some reunion shows, but eventually ended up releasing the new album, "Surgical Steel." Ken Owen was replaced by Daniel Erlandsson and then later by Daniel Wilding, though Ken does take part in some band activities, from providing some backing vocals to performing a short drum solo at a Carcass show shortly after the band had reformed. Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson left Carcass in order for focus more completely on their band, Arch Enemy. "Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel" is an EP released to provide bonus tracks and unreleased material from the studio sessions for "Sugical Steel" to the band's fans in a single disc. There are 5 tracks and the EP has a runtime of approximately 17 minutes.  

The EP opens up with "A Wraith in the Apparatus," which seems like another way to say "ghost in the machine." What you get with this track is pretty much classic Carcass. "Intensive Battery Brooding" is definitely one of the most melodic tracks on the EP, and with a very memorable guitar riff. "Zochrot" isn't a very complex song, but definitely has its own appeal, with Walker's vocals being a large part of Carcass' attraction these days. "Livestock Marketplace" is another song where I'm thinking "you know, these guitar parts are REALLY catchy for what is basically death metal." The main separation from "hard rock" on this album is the drumming and the vocal delivery, but especially on this track and "Zochrot." The EP closes out with "1985 (Reprise)," which is essentially an epic melody played for about 2 minutes, which actually seems to bookend the EP fairly well. // 7

Lyrics: With lyrics like "sizzle, sizzle, siz," how can you say no? Seriously though, Jeff Walker's vocals are iconic at this point, which makes it hard to judge them except by comparing them to his earlier work. They hold up fairly well in that comparison. The lyrics are basically what you expect from Carcass, from the grotesque to the words of society's disenfranchised. I don't really have anything to complain about here - if you buy a Carcass album, you know what you're going to get in this category, and it is delivered. // 7

Overall Impression: I'm not sure how I feel about any disc that is sold with less than 20 minutes of music on it, even if it is an EP. I don't think that this EP was terrible, but it seems to be a long way from where Carcass were back in their heyday. Maybe I'm not being fair to the band, but for a group of guys who were a REALLY BIG DEAL in the world of extreme metal - especially for death metal and melodic death metal - they don't really have their crap together. On the other hand, they haven't really got straight since they reformed, and Michael Amott leaving the band didn't help. I think that, potentially, the group can still pull out of this nosedive if they quit writing guitar parts like a hard rock band and remember how to write like metal musicians. // 7

- Brandon East (c) 2014

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