REVIEW: CARCASS – “Torn Arteries”
Hunter S. Thompson wrote “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!””. Carcass have been on one hell of a ride and “Wow” is my first thought after listening to their new album Torn Arteries.
On the off chance, you aren’t familiar with the Carcass, they are Bill Steer (guitar, backing vocals), Jeff Walker (bass, vocals), Dan Wilding (drums), and the new kid on the block Tom Draper (guitar). After a delay in release due to a pandemic (Thanks Covid!!), Torn Arteries will be available on September 17, 2021, via Nuclear Blast. This is exactly eight years after their masterful return to the studio on Surgical Steel.
The Hunter S. Thompson quote spoke to me as I listened to Torn Arteries. Carcass have been hurtling toward the edge ever since their debut of grinding mayhem Reek of Putrefaction in 1988. Since that time, they have thrown themselves into making music that thoroughly embraces the savage heart of rock and roll with a bloody grin. Torn Arteries is Carcass at their finest and having a ton of fun along the way. While the entire album is superb, let’s take a closer look at a few gems.
The opening title track rolls in on rumbling toms as chunky guitars twist and swirl. With a grunt, the band launches into a galloping assault as Jeff Walker snarls “Torn Arteries” in his trademark growl. This first track gives you a clear view of the direction Carcass is taking on this album. Prepare for viciously addictive songs played with fierce precision.
The title Torn Arteries is a brotherly nod to founding Carcass drummer Ken Owen. Before the inception of the band, Ken created a one-man project of chaos called “Torn Arteries”. Cheers, Ken!
Stomping up next is “Dance of Ixtab”. Featuring burly riffs, this song embraces a black comedic slide on the gallows pole. Ixtab is Mayan for “Woman of the Rope”. She guides those who commit suicide or dies by hanging to the afterworld where they can rest in peace. You have to love the way metal music shares a little chunk of knowledge as Bill Steer’s high gain lead wails with bluesy goodness.
Built around a classically influenced foundation, “The Devil Rides Out” is imbued with terrific melody. The guitar solo is beautiful and brutal. “In God We Trust” employs a proggy bridge and guitar solo that provides a poignant counterpoint to the overall grinding groove.
My favorite song is “Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited”. The acoustic intro evokes the somber smoldering of burning dreams. Then with an iron fist, the guitars, bass, and drums conspire to create a punishing tome of devastation. Here again, the bridge is exquisite and laden with the gray hue of doom. The song culminates in a crushing anthemic death march
Torn Arteries by Carcass is a gorgeous metal album designed for spontaneous coronary artery dissection. No seriously, this album is at the top of the heap in terms of the sonic carnage that Carcass has unleashed. The songwriting is bursting with creativity crafting a melodious montage of heavy music. With songs bristling full of hooks like a brawny barrel cactus, Torn Arteries is sharp and captivating.