Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Carcass - Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)

I remember first hearing this way back in '91 and thinking "oh no!". Similar to the transition from Reign in Blood to South of Heaven, I could tell that this wasn't a bad album by any means, but I wasn't so sure that this was what I wanted to hear after having my brains pummeled by the hideous perfection of Symphonies of Sickness. It was immediately apparent that "the boys" were advancing tremendously in the progressive technicality department, but at 16 years of age, all I wanted to hear was more of the puke drenched atmospherics of the band's previous album.

For many years it was hard for me to fully embrace N:DTI, yet oddly enough, I couldn't resist popping it into the tape deck, quite often at that. While the band were clearly making huge technical advancements, they were also improving their overall songwriting technique. N:DTI is loaded with catchy hooks and memorable riffs and there is an undeniable and dare I say, "dreamy" atmosphere that hovers over the proceedings, though for the most part, aside from a few oddball moments, this is still a very violent sounding record.

One of the things that I found it difficult to accept in those days was the increasing absence of Bill Steer's frog-like croak. One of and perhaps the biggest draw back in the early years was the absolutely vile sounding dual vocal delivery between Steer and bassist Jeff Walker. they sounded like a vulture fighting over a cadaver with a burping swamp. The fact that Jeff was becoming the dominant vocal presence sort of bummed me out. Bill isn't entirely out of the picture though and there are some winning trade-offs between the two, but I would have like to have heard a bit of the old formula applied to this album.

As the years have turned into decades, I have found myself appreciating this album as well as its successor, '93's Heartwork, more and more. Hearing the absolute mastery the band had over their instruments and marveling over their rather uncanny ability to craft songs that even the gods themselves are unable to produce makes the disinterest the band had in creating 'Swansong' that much more painful to behold. Up until that point, the achievements of the band were second to none in terms of the advancement heard from each album to the next. I can say with absolute confidence that Necroticism is without a doubt a masterpiece and a monolith of human accomplishment. Though the style of metal may differ slightly, Necroticism easily sits beside Ride the Lightning and Peace Sells... in terms of brilliant composition, craftsmanship and diversity. I have a strange feeling that the impending comeback album is going to be a pleasant surprise despite the detractors.

Like unto the gods themselves...

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