Album Review: Carcass – Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast)

Legendary death metal band Carcass will release their 7th studio album and first for 8 years on September 17th, 2021 via Nuclear Blast. Called ‘Torn Arteries’, the title references an old demo created by original drummer Ken Ownback in the 80’s.

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As vocalist and bassist Jeff Walker explains:

I think as our 7th album, it does stand out from the others both sonically and stylistically/ You can definitely tell that it’s Carcass; when you drop that needle on the vinyl, when you hear that guitar tone, you can tell it’s Bill Steer, but each album is always a product of its time.

When you’re a band like Carcass, with such history and such a hardcore fanbase, doing anything out of the ordinary is sure to cause some ripples. It’s why their sonic deviations over the decades have been subtle and part of the band’s natural growth. With Torn Arteries there is no ripping up of the Carcass playbook, it is unmistakably them and shares plenty in common with the Carcass of old. However, it’s also unfair to suggest this isn’t the band continuing to push forward and not live too long in the past.

Though the blistering death metal and hurtling wrath of the title track certainly ticks all the boxes for what Carcass are about when it comes right down to it. Eat it up, head-bang and circle pit until you can’t anymore, it’s a welcome slab of viciousness from a band renowned for it.

The simplicity of that track (albeit with Carcass’ penchant for wild instrumentation) does mean the groovier and slower tempo of both Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B) and the following Elanor Rigor Mortis stand out. A double dose of methodical dissections; the guitar riffs are the blades that cut deep, the drums are akin to a rip snapper, the bass works like a chest separator and the vocals are pulling the entrails out with glee.

Heavier and heavier, but with one of the album’s best riffs, Under the Scalpel Blade might have been taken from their 2020’s Despicable EP but it is still sounding so damn great. The Devil Rides Out is a dirty and guttural Jeff Walker special before we hit the near 10-minute-long Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited. Here, Carcass prove just why they remain at the forefront of death metal with a track that burns brightly with twisted intentions, delivers gory violence and is consistently mentally assaulting. The varying tempo shifts, the duality of chunky heaviness and razor-sharp speed, the visceral bursts of noise, melodic drop and elated way it is all spat out makes for a very special listen.

It’s almost nice to get something that is back to ‘simpler’ Carcass as they give listeners busted ear-drums on the frenzied Kelly’s Meat Emporium. Before the guitars and drums deliver busted noses on the energetic and thumping In God We Trust.

Nearing the end, one really interesting to take away from this album is how you could literally pull any track out, listen to it in a bubble and still clearly know it’s Carcass. It’s not quite what you would call an album of ‘singles’ but it’s in the same ball park.

It’s also really great to see them still trying to surprise and certainly continue to that on Wake up and Smell the Carcass / Caveat Emptor. A track that has their usual fervour but once again features groovier riffing and soloing. Finally it is The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing that ends another Carcass classic with a lengthy and disciplined solo before erupting into worshipful death metal heaviness.

Carcass – Torn Arteries Full Track Listing:

1. Torn Arteries
2. Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)
3. Eleanor Rigor Mortis
4. Under the Scalpel Blade
5. The Devil Rides Out
6. Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited
7. Kelly’s Meat Emporium
8. In God We Trust
9. Wake up and Smell the Carcass / Caveat Emptor
10. The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing


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Carcass – Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast)
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