Carcass are considered one of the first British death metal bands, even garnering a mention on American sitcom Friends and reformed after an extensive hiatus. We shall see if they still attain such a coveted title with their latest EP, ‘Despicable’.
There’s so much going on in opener ‘The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue’ that it’s hard to categorise it under any single banner or genre, as it rampages from sludge to death to thrash to classic metal to whatever the hell comes next in this chaotic barrage. Yet, somehow it still flows in an organised enough manner to still hold meaning, even though the time changes make the head banging a little awkward.
Harking back to their classic style, ‘The Long And Winding Bier Road’ retracts back to a rhythmic style and drawn out roars from Jeff Walker, with one line utterances that feature around consistent macabre themes of surgery and disease. The lighter tone of guitar leads and clearer vocals does make for a decent up-change of atmosphere from the chaotic start.
Verging on the black death metal sector, ‘Under The Scalpel Blade’ deepens into visceral croaks and brawling riffs. This delivers in both gut punch authority and maniacal terror, with drummer Daniel Wilding commanding rhythmic dominance to keep a precise yet slightly classical feeling of crashing cymbals and rifling kick pedals.
Pushing the envelope too far, ‘Slaughtered In Soho’ is a death metal meets mathcore affair that’s a bit of an awkward juncture. It doesn’t meet the mastery of the previous tracks, and the rhythms don’t quite match up with all the stops and starts.
For any classic or modern death metal fan, ‘Despicable’ is another great instalment by a stalwart and accomplished band, but even the best can do one experiment too far. Just beware that your innards don’t become part of their mantel shelf.