CARCASS: NECROTICISM - DESCANTING THE INSALUBRIOUS (1991)
1) Inpropagation; 2) Corporal Jigsaw Quandary; 3) Symposium Of Sickness; 4) Pedigree Butchery; 5) Incarnated Solvent Abuse; 6) Carneous Cacoffiny; 7) Lavaging Expectorate Of Lysergide Composition; 8) Forensic Clinicism / The Sanguine Article; 9*) Tools Of The Trade; 10*) Pyosified (Still Rotten To The Gore); 11*) Hepatic Tissue Fermentation II.
This is where they finally realized that a proper metal band has to have two guitarists in order to achieve real respectability — and at least one should preferably be of Scandinavian origin, cuz there's nothing like a shot of thick Viking blood to add that authentic berserk component to your metal riffage. Thus, enter Michael Amott, a natural choice since his own recently formed Swedish band was called Carnage, and was essentially the Swedish equivalent of Carcass. The result was obvious — a more «melodic» (so to say) form of the music, with a separate lead player capable of adding colorful flourishes to the brutal riffs and dutifully churning out speedy-flashy classical-influenced solos where deemed necessary. Now the band was finally set up to produce their equivalent of Slayer's Reign In Blood, if it really wanted to.
Indeed, the record is far more ambitious. The songs are lightly adorned with special effects (including occasional voiceovers that are probably sampled from obscure B-movies, or an occasional atmospheric synthesizer backdrop, or even a tiny bit of acoustic guitar now and then), the song structures become even more complex and now regularly alternate between Sabbathy slow and ultra-fast, and then there's all that lead guitar. If not for the lyrics, this would have been just a regular speed-thrash-whatever-mash-up — the lyrics, however, stubbornly persist in this grotesque fascination with the morgue, as the album is formally organized around the concept of finding various ways of dispensing with corpses (both out of practical necessity and as a hobby).
The problem is that it is completely impossible to seriously praise the record in «layman» terms. The musical structures of these tunes, some of which now run for as long as six or seven minutes, clearly seem «progressive» — the band is now approaching their music as actual music, rather than mere noisy backdrop for staged offensiveness, and all the compositions work as compositions; in fact, sometimes I think I'd much rather listen to the instrumental versions without having to divert attention towards the growling vocals that really sound the same all the way through, not just in style and timbre, but even in simple phrasing. Compared to the vocals, the instrumental work is far more demanding — the riffs are more complex than Metallica's and the shifts between multiple sections are flawlessly executed. But the riffs also do not lend themselves easily to «visualization» — for the life of me I couldn't even begin to explain in what way the emotional impact of ʽPedigree Butcheryʼ differs from that of ʽCarneous Cacoffinyʼ.
At the same time, we should also keep in mind that Carcass were far from the only metal band experimenting with the limits of the genre — and if they did not have that particular anatomical-pathological schtick of theirs, chances are serious that Necroticism would have been completely lost in the sea of high-profile, technically accomplished metal releases from around the year 1991. So perhaps the best news here is that the original «spirit of Carcass», despite all the increased complexity, is still loyally preserved, and that it adds the necessary shade of theatrical gore to the music. No, scratch «gore» — it adds the necessary shade of macabre fun to the music, which is the perfect aural equivalent of indulging in your dark side when splattering your opponent's brains (or other parts) against the wall in a fighting video game. Of course, it goes without saying that, in the light of this, Necroticism should only be recommended for people with good mental health — so, if you happen to have Charlie Manson in your family history, please disregard this thumbs up and submit yourself to preventive therapy in the form of my Avril Lavigne reviews or something like that.