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Classic Review: Carcass - Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious
Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

Label: Earache Records
Year released: 1991
Duration: 48:03
Tracks: 8
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5+/5

Review online: September 12, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

Rated 4.4/5 (88%) (60 Votes)

Well from my review of Ulver's 'Nattens Madrigal' album being one of my favorite black metal albums ever, here we have one of my favorite (if not #1 favorite, though it usually changes on a weekly basis) death metal albums. You can say a lot of things about Carcass, but you can never accuse them of ever releasing two albums that sounded the same in their five full length lifespan. From their filthy medical dictionary grinding roots, to their part in the creation of melo-death (way before the city of Gothenburg became a by-word for an actual style of music I might add), and though somewhat to a lesser extent to their uber melody-laden swansong of… erm… 'Swansong', the main body of Walker, Steer and Owen innovated and inspired hundreds of musicians throughout the world.

In my eyes, this (their 3rd album) was their crowning glory - a perfect death metal album which bridged the gap between their charring brutality filled debut and sophomore releases to the super-polished melodic musicianship of 'Heartwork'. In the eyes of many, the thanks for this step forward would be given to the addition of Michael Amott to their ranks for this album (even if he did only add a couple of solos to this release, with all the rhythm work already done by Bill Steer), but to me it was one of those 'moment in time' things, where the planets were in alignment at the correct time of recording. Lyrically, the medical dictionary was dusted off for the final time covering such touching subjects as humans being turned into fertilizer, humans being used as pet food, humans parts being used as musical instruments, humans being turned into glue for glue sniffing - you get the idea. It was this tongue in cheek attitude that grabbed me when I first flicked through the booklet, adding the extra dimension when listening to the album - hell, they even named their solos with medical terms. This album also marked the final appearance of the dual Steer/Walker vocals, and what a sign off it was. Bill Steer's gurgling low growl works so well in combination with main man Jeff Walker's sneering throaty snarl (who was to take on full vocal duty from 'Heartwork' onwards), adding to the bloodthirsty pleasure. However the things that truly make this album what it is, is the chugging mid-paced riffwork and clinical (pun intended) drumwork. Slowing the pace from their grinding brutality a few notches really helped to open up the riffs, and the addition of blazing tuneful lead-work really showed the professionalism that was dying to get out in their nascent nose-to-the-grindstone days. The addition of each track opening with samples of doctors/forensics/pathologists discussing various nasty incidents merely adds to the permeating sterilizing feel of the album, the icing on the cake, if you will (or perhaps 'the suture in the wound' is a more fitting analogy here).

I could go on about this album for several pages; such is my love for it. However, all I wish to add to this review is that, if you don't own this album, or even worse if you haven't even heard it - you can't seriously call yourself a death metal fan. There's no room for excuses of the "Oh they're just another gore band, it's so childish yadda yadda yadda" nature that I've heard from a few. You couldn't be more wrong, it's that simple. Listen and learn from the daddies.

Other related information on the site
Review: Despicable (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Heartwork (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Surgical Steel (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Symphonies of Sickness (reviewed by Scott Murray)
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