22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The Greatest Album of All Time?,
This review is from: Symphonies Of Sickness (Audio CD)
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.)