Carcass Wrote the Blueprint for Death-Metal Extremity. Now They Just Want to Write a Great Song
When the British metal band Carcass formed more than three decades ago, its members had a fairly straightforward aim.
“We were just three teenagers that wanted to cause havoc,” guitarist Bill Steer says, looking back on the group’s 1988 debut, Reek of Putrefaction. “We were priding ourselves on having made a very offensive album. We wanted everything about it to be unpalatable: music, lyrics, cover. I guess we achieved it.”
Most would agree. To label Reek “unpalatable” is like calling ABBA Gold “mildly catchy.” Carcass’ first album was a blur of frantic drum blasts, subhuman grunts, and downtuned-beyond-recognition riffs, all adding up to a sound that suggested hardcore punk as played by a band of flesh-hungry zombies. Complementing the unsparing sonics were lyrics chronicling all manner of grievous bodily harm (sample song titles: ”Carbonized Eye Sockets,” “Vomited Anal Tract”) and, on the cover, a stomach-turning photo-collage of cadavers in various states of distress.