Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Carcass - Swansong (1996)

The problem with this album is that the riffs are just not very interesting. I can accept the fact that the band (or more accurately, Bill Steer) wanted to go into a more "rock" oriented direction, but unlike the fellas in Entombed, Carcass just could not convincingly move forward in that particular direction. I've listened to Steer's post Carcass output and with the exception of Gentlemen's Pistols (of which he's not even an original member, raising the question of how much has he contributed, musically, to that band) I'm just not that big of a fan. I can totally understand his being drawn to the more rustic sounds of classic rock ala Cream, etc. but I've heard far more convincing renditions of the era that he's sought to emulate and Carcass' 'Swansong' is, obviously, the most awkward of them all. For me, it really doesn't have much to do with the seemingly obvious, which is the fusion of death metal and blues/rock, but the fact that Steer's strength is clearly in sticking with his metallic roots, be it the gloomier, grind drenched riffing of 'Symphonies...' or the trad-metal influenced rhythmic fluctuations of 'Necroticism' and 'Heartwork', the latter being the obvious culmination of his talents.

Starting with 'Heartwork', the lyrics, I felt, began to take a turn for the worse as the band began to take on more practical subject matter and on 'Swansong' they really hit rock bottom. I mean, 'R**k the Vote'? Really?? This is almost as bad as '31 Flavors' by Sacred Reich.

All in all, 'Swansong' isn't as bad as some would lead you to believe, at least if you're one of the more open minded denizens that doesn't get a period over a band experimenting with their sound a bit. For me though, it all just comes across as very uninspired and ultimately being an unneeded and non-essential offering to the band's body of work. Thankfully, the band has come to their senses and decided to conjure fourth an album soon to be unleashed upon the masses. I'm happy to say that the little I've heard thus far pretty much picks up where 'Heartwork' left off. Welcome home, boys...


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