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This review is from: Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious (CD+DVD) (Audio CD)
Although the cynic in me is somewhat angered by Earache Records' current policy of raking through its (in fairness, highly impressive) back catalogue of established artists and re-releasing landmark records with somewhat dubious "extras" tacked on to the side, in the case of "Necroticism..." I am more than willing to make an exception.
It is quite difficult to overstate how influential this album was (and still is) on the death metal genre. A perfect marriage of the brutal death/gore-grind of earlier releases (particularly the slightly more structured "cuts" from "Symphonies Of Sickness") and the psuedo-melodic death metal/Gothenburg sound of "Heartwork", "Necroticism..." is possibly the definitive Carcass album.
The guitar work is second to none, with Bill Steer and Michael Amott's contrasting guitar styles complementing the songs perfectly. The riffs are IMMENSE, as indeed are the much more professional sounding solos. The song structures are at times mind-bogglingly complex. Ken Owen's drumming is some of the best ever committed to an extreme metal record and Jeff Walker's vocals are suitably savage (Bill and Ken's vocals are less prevalent than on previous records, however).
What is perhaps the factor that makes this such a good record however, is the clear and precise cohesion of vision. Each band member was focused on their own parts (as is commented on in the documentary included with this re-release). Bill and Michael were a virtuoso guitar machine in perfect co-ordination. Ken handled much of the art and conceptual aspects (on a theme of death meets eroticism) of the record, as well as the drumming and much of the song-writing. Jeff's lyrics (which are almost entirely written by him) are as witty, verbose and stomach-churning as ever. This record really does sound like four musicians all going in the same direction.
And of course it has to be stated, AT LAST, A WELL PRODUCED CARCASS ALBUM! I think the clear production on this record was part of what helped "Necroticism..." launch Carcass into extreme metal's front-line. Any previous shows of virtuosity and cohesion were lost by muddy, ham-fisted recording (particularly on the classic, but nigh unlistenable "Reek Of Putrefaction").
Whilst as stated above, I usually despise "extras", the meaty treats on store here (for once) hit the mark. The (highly entertaining) documentary DVD gives a very good insight into the mind-set of the band at the time, as well as delving into the band's history and how the album was made. Also included on the C.D. is the rare "Tools Of The Trade" E.P. in the form of bonus tracks. So you are in fact buying an L.P., an E.P. and a DVD all in the same package!
In a word, ESSENTIAL.