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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Album of All Time?,
I remember the first time I saw a Carcass album in a record shop, oh so many years ago. The collage of gore (I believe it was 'Reek of Putrefaction') stunned me, and of course, made me laugh. Little did I know how much Carcass would come to mean to me in the coming years...
15 years have passed, and I must say that my musical tastes have changed a lot since then, from techno and 'gabba', to my recent obsession with folk music, particularly traditional Irish. But if there is one album I have never stopped enjoying, it is Carcass's 'Symphonies of Sickness'.
Death metal and grindcore are genres that appeal to a fairly small audience, which I believe is part of it's appeal. It's a wonderful thing watching your favorite band play live in a small club in front of a couple hundred people, and then getting the chance to chat with them afterwards (I met the lads from Carcass twice on the 'Gods of Grind' tour). To the untrained ear, an album such as this may come across as nothing more than having to face a chorus of pneumatic drills at 6am whilst recovering from a bad hangover...
...good grindcore and death metal, however, is so much more than this. There is a tremendous intensity and aggression in the music, of course, but beneath the chaos there lies a complexity, an intricate balance of harmony and disharmony, and constant changes of rhythm that mesmerise and entertain in a way that very few musical styles can accomplish.
This recipe is exemplified most beautifully in 'Symphonies of Sickness'. There is never a dull moment in this album, the riffs are some of the catchiest ever recorded on a grindcore album, and it's not surprising that Carcass went on to record more rock-oriented albums later in their careers. Very few bands ever record a 'perfect album', but I believe that 'Symphonies of Sickness' is exactly that. An absolute masterpiece. To this day, this album makes me grin and tap my feet like no other album I have ever heard, the grinding noise and blastbeats are so wonderfully offset by the more 'funky' and 'rocking' rhythms and riffs, with choruses that I almost can't help singing along to... ("advanced pyathrosis, LET THERE BE ROT! Fun in the morgue!")
Although I generally listen to soothing folky music these days, 'Symphonies of Sickness' still ranks in my top three albums of all time, and my copy of the CD, with the original gory album cover, is one of my most treasured possessions.
I really can not praise this album enough. It is truly, absolutely, unequivocally, PERFECT.
(interestingly, I did not really like the Carcass albums subsequent to 'Symphonies...' - somehow they just didn't move me like this one.)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best grindcore record ever.,
Carcass pretty much invented the gore-grind genre with their debut album Reek of Putrefaction, and all the elements that make up Symphonies of Sickness are present in that first album - the shocking real-life autopsy cover collage artwork, the brutal medical dictionary lyrics, the triple vocal attack, the hyperspeed grinding music - the only real difference is that while Carcass' debut album formed the right musical and stylistic template for the band, musically it was a little rough and amateurish - on Symphonies of Sickness the band have got their act together in a major way.
Gone is the sloppy musicianship and out of time moments that marred Reek of Putrefaction, with Bill Steer throwing out some truly twisted dextrous guitar riffs, while Ken Owens blastbeats are now steady as a rock. The godwaful production that made Reek of Putrefaction barely listenable at times has also been removed, as Colin Richardson gives the band a powerful presence without cleaning up any of the essential filthy guitar tones.
When Symphonies of Sickness was first released it seemed like an almost impossibly noisy record, with the jagged riffs disappearing under a barrage of blastbeats and screaming. In the 16-odd years since it was released the number of bands influenced by Carcass and taking things to an even more extreme level have made Symphonies of Sickness a more accessible record, but have certainly not weakened its power. In fact, the passing of time has been kind to this record - instead of sounding dated the quality of the guitar riffs and the general perverse groovy-ness of the songs shine through. Make no mistake, Symphonies of Sickness contains some of the best grindcore songs ever written.
Carcass 3rd album Necroticism is rightfully considered by many to be the best death metal album ever made, but don't neglect Symphonies of Sickness - with its peerless collection of songs, and air of perverse sickness (this is one album that really does sound as though it was recorded by serial killers in a filthy murder shack) as far as I'm concerned this is the best grindcore album ever made.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best carcass album by far.,
The definitive grind core album of the all time Exhume to consume is classic carcass at there best Check out wake up and smell the carcass for some old unreleased gems.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Necroticism??,
Contrary to the below review, i find this album to be far superior to Necroticism - Descanting The Insalubrious. In my opinion Necroticism is the sound of a band, who know what they want to do, but are too scared to betray their death metal and grind roots. Which is exactly what they did with Heartwork.
Symphonies of sicknes is simply one of the most perfect death metal albums, although to be honest i am not a huge death metal fan (i prefer 80's hardcore like, napalm death, the stupids, ripcord, etc.) There is a good mixture of blastbeats and mid paced sections, and the guitars sound perfect, the vocals are pretty horrible sounding and are mainly performed by Jeff walker on this album, but Bill steer still does a few deep growled vocals. Theres plent of catchy riffs in there, and it rarely goes into some of the monotonous sections like Necroticism. The only thing i dont like is that you cant hear the bass very well apart from when the guitar is not being played. Lyric-wise there are very detailed and interesting pathology terms, making the gore side of things more interesting than you average gore band. All in all a masterpiece album!
5.0 out of 5 stars fun in the morgue!,
Hey,the police raided Earache records office becase of this album's and reek of putrefaction original covers.They confiscated some pictures and papers,but made no arrest. So if your going to buy this album buy it in it's original cover.
It's grindcore,with the most extreme lyrics i ever read .It's like reading an anatomy book , in rhyme . I think Jeff Walker did some medical studies - only a medical dictionary , i discovered later .
Empathological necroticism is my favourite .The singing sometimes gets too hellish to understan but, don't take it so seriously or you'll lose your mind ,or call the police.
"bloodied ,torn and twisted
severe mutilation is all that remains
stagnating in shrink-wrap
empty the contents onto the mortuary slab"
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undermining confidence in surgical practice!,
A collage of photos from a forensic pathology manual, tropical diseases and major trauma all done in the lowest artistic taste! Lyrics of sadistic surgery, infinite perversity. This album still has the power to be as shocking today as when it was released. It's initial impact is stunningly horrific but the obscene imagery was not simply a marketing shock tactic. Satanic imagery had failed to deliver the required intensity of horror which could match the music in tone and had become humorous rather than complimentary in this genre. This album rejuvenated the horror in preparation for a new level of musical intensity. Musically, this
is a fine album. Heavily distorted, fast power chord based melodies are battered out in line with rasping death metal vocals. The two contrasting vocal styles on this album really compliment each other nicely, taking turns to deliver the highly
idiosyncratic technical lyrics. There are problems though, one being the production. The vocals are too deep in the mix and would have been better placed nearer to the forefront and also there is a very 'live' feeling to the musicianship, as if the band are playing uncomfortably. Some people would call this a 'raw' sound however, and actively search for this sound. Much of the album is fast and aggressive and the album only occasionally lapses into heavy metal.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carcass's best!,
This is the best grindcore album out there with brutal riffs and guttural vocals.The production is better than reek of putrefaction. Try exhume to consume for size!
5.0 out of 5 stars great album,
By A Customer
a quality album fantasic track titles, sick lyrics and most of all heavy music.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but Necroticism is better,
By A Customer
In 1988, Carcass added a new dimension to heavy metal with their gore-obsessed lyrics on their debut, reek of putrefaction. This second album is an improvement on reek..., as the production is better, the songs are a bit longer than 30 seconds and the gore lyricism gets more intricate. This is an excellent album in its own right. But only trendy elitists could say that this album is better than Necroticism. Necroticism is where Carcass hit their peak. But this album is still a must have in your collection. 8.5 out of 10.
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