Carcass (1986-1996, 2007-present): a Death Metal band from Liverpool, UK.
hese self-confessed all vegetarian death metallers comprised of Jeff Walker (ex-Electro Hippies; vocals/bass), Bill Steer (ex-Napalm Death; vocals/guitar) and Ken Owen (drums). Morbid death, carnage-laden lyrics over grunts and bass dominated instrumental components were the phrases that best described their style. Using strict and correct anatomical textbook terminology, their lyrics centered on the affairs of festering wounds, bursting and/or steaming entrails, dismemberment, death and mutilation. Contrary to common belief, they were not medical students.
Their Reek Of Putrification (1988) and Symphonies of Sickness (1989) releases would be revolutionary in their day for descending death metal to new gory depths before the genre was fully formed; their raw onslaught of musical blasts didn't hurt either. By the time Necrotism-Discanting The Insalubrious was released in 1991, they faced controversy in their homeland when the first two albums were temporarily banned and seized by police under obscenity laws; the charges were later dropped but not after their fans were impressed by the goriness of the art and lyrics depicted. They also expanded to include Michael Amott (ex-Carnage) on guitars with his debut on this same album. Steer would also step aside in favor of Walker exclusively on vocals so he didn't have to play two roles.
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Their 1993 release, Heartwork, would raise controversy again for the original cover art designed by H.R. Giger (who also got The Dead Kennedys in trouble). But the album would be successful in getting the big boys, in the form of 'Columbia', interested. Heartwork featured a dramatic decrease in the medical lyrics and concentrated more on a basic death metal sound. It made a 67 charting in the UK, but it wasn't long before the band's expectations would diverge from that of the major, landing them back in 'Earache's' lap again. They toured with Body Count and Pitch Shifter, as well as replacing Amott with Carlos Regadas.
The aptly titled Swansong (1995) was to be their last. This album made a US 68 charting but, ironically, whilst at the top of their career, the band tossed their leader and founder, Steer then subsequently broke up themselves with the remaining members to form the short-lived Blackstar with Griff (ex-Cathedral) while Bill Steer formed the stoner-Rock act Firebird (not to be confused with the 70's NWOBHM band of the same name). The Carcass remix/compilation album, Wake Up and Smell the Carcass, was published posthumously in 1996, its cover blacked out on store shelves for depicting a man (presumably J.F.K.) with his head shot open and brain exposed.
A long set of compilation albums would follow in the wake of the band's break up until they reformed with Jeff Walker (bass/vocals/lyrics), Dan Wilding (drums) and Bill Steer (guitars/vocals (additional)) to release Surgical Steel (2013) in a more melodic death metal style.
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