Symphonies Of Sickness review by Carcass

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  • Released: Oct 31, 1989
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.6 (9 votes)
Carcass: Symphonies Of Sickness
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Sound — 10
Second album by Carcass, released in 1989. This record pretty much follows the same formula of their debut, "Reek Of Putrefaction", being just the pure formation of goregrind smashing through your ears, but with some differences, that I'll cite here. I would praise the production quality on this record, because it really did the guitar and the drums some justice, unfortunately something that their previous album didn't. However, the main difference between this album and their debut lies on the songwriting. Songs became longer (average length of the songs here is 4 minutes and a half, I would say, while on "Reek Of Putrefaction" is 1 minute and a half), more riffs and structures were incorporated, and Bill Steer really put some effort here on the solos ("Exhume To Consume" and "Cadaveric Incubator Of Endoparasites" being great examples). It's just like... There's a insanely fast riff crushing your headset, then a slow, morbid riff introduces himself, bringing a very creative solo along. That happens a lot, here. And despite this album following the formula of their debut album, like I've said before, (and "Reek Of Putrefaction" being just as good and influential/classic as this one here), there's obviously a huge evolution when it comes to songwriting and musicianship here. Still, these changes came together with the old goregrind vein of them, tearing everything apart with blast beats and all the crazy stuff you can expect from anything "grind". I like how the cymbals here sound really loud, adding even more chaos to the album. About the bass, we can't really say that it's outstanding or something, but it just gets its job done very well (and introduces "Ruptured in Purulence" greatly). In short: this album is a timeless classic in heavy music, just like all their albums, that all were somehow influent on extreme music (their first three albums playing a major role in the formation of grind/goregrind and "Heartwork" and "Swansong" in the formation of melodic death metal). A great, and very underrated band, indeed.

Lyrics — 10
Seriously, the lyrics could not fit the music better. They're all based on all kinds of pathologies, human body parts, guts, dissections, and everything that you would probably find in a really crappy hospital or in some sick doctor's lab. They're very creative, actually. I feel like a gore film can be made out of every single song of them. Just to cite a few parts: "Succumbling to a translucid state/As you sniff the aroma of necropsy...". Also, "Lungs now flooded/With bicarbonates and boiling soap". As for the vocal duties, they're shared by Jeffrey Walker and Bill Steer here, and I think that it was a brilliant idea. While Jeffrey usually sings the more screamed/shrieked vocals, Steer comes up with the gutturals and growls, giving the album an even more macabre sound. Really genius stuff.

Overall Impression — 10
Well, yeah, I'm giving this album a 10 at all aspects, and this one deserves, for sure. This is a mandatory record for any fan of extreme music, made by a seminal band and unique until this day in the genre. I would point "Exhume To Consume", "Cadaveric Incubator Of Endoparasites" and "Reek Of Putrefaction" as the best songs here, but seriously, this album is just perfect, from the very first second to the very last. From an impartial point of view (this might be even sounding contradictory here due to all the praising), I love this album because it shows Carcass making a great progress in songwriting without losing their way, and from a totally partial point of view, I love this because any song here promptly makes me bang my head really hard. I would absolutely buy this again if it were stolen, lost or whatever. Classic.

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