Carcass - Torn Arteries
Nuclear Blast
Death Metal
10 songs (49:00)
Release year: 2021
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

It can be hard to get used to a shift in the way that you perceive metal bands, especially ones that reinvent themselves on nearly every release to leave a solid catalogue behind them; some classics, some favourites, some missteps. And then, when the inevitable reunion comes, it's always a disappointment when the new albums don't quite measure up to past glories, but run the same set of ideas past you again and again...

Anyway, enough talking about At The Gates! (In all fairness to the Swedes, The Nightmare of Being is still great!) Yet in comparison, Carcass' 2013 comeback Surgical Steel was as sharp as its namesake, boasting a solid-to-excellent set of songs that expertly sliced through melodic death territory and regained the band a name for medical-obsessed mayhem. That it's taken them a long eight years to produce a follow-up is, in many ways, a positive thing; it would have been easy to throw out a few misbegotten Arch Enemy riffs on disappointing albums every two or three years and coast along. Torn Arteries, whatever you may think of it, is not the album a coasting band would release, from the (very cool, even as an avowed carnivore) vegetable heart on the cover to the real mix of sounds inside.

It's all the band's signature type of death metal, of course, they've not started throwing saxophones in. Yet it's a solid formula, taking the Surgical Steel death metal and pushing it just that little bit extra to make this feel like a fresh album. The opening title track gallops in and lays waste, but allowing melodic indulgences and prog-tinged riff experimentations between the thrashy metallic bludgeons, and it's just the start of an enjoyable album. Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No 1) builds into a genuinely interesting rework of Necroticism-era death metal, from the interesting and relevant drums to the groovy and melodic guitarwork - it doesn't reinvent the band's formula, but it does perform it so well that you forgive the band immediately for not pushing things further.

There's a real variety here which helps, such as the somehow both speedier and groovier Eleanor Rigor Mortis (which online chatter has been praising as an especially witty song title from the band, immediately revealing that they are new to Carcassville!) or Under the Scalpel Blade's dips into deathgrind. The words 'neckdestroying assault' were used to describe Surgical Steel, and there's not an exception to this on Torn Arteries, especially if you're open to having your neck seduced by slightly more melodic and death 'n' roll approaches like The Devil Rides Out. A definite highlight is the nearly ten-minute Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited, opening with pleasant acoustic guitars before launching into tech-groove stomping, somehow keeping itself fresh thanks to the ear-hooking catchiness of the riffs despite not experimenting especially with anything but track length. The core trio of Walker, Steer, and Wilding are more than solid enough to be worth listening to for themselves, and thankfully they've kept their powder dry and potent so that their assaults are genuinely worthy of your time.

And that, ultimately, is enough to make Torn Arteries an excellent album. If we'd have suffered through two samey releases since Surgical Steel we would have complained, but Carcass circa 2021 are canny enough and have enough artistic integrity to drop their fleshy gifts sparingly. And there's enough wisdom to keep the experience as fresh as a newly-cut pepper, the likes of Kelly's Meat Emporium and the doom-death tinged In God We Trust both doing enough to keep your interest even before the latter's bluesy soloing and hand-clapping. Even late-album cuts like Wake Up and Smell the Carcass/Caveat Emptor and The Scythe's Remorseless Swing are beyond solid, throwing in plenty of excellent riffs and ensuring the energy levels remain high. The latter strays towards more atmospheric grounds, suggesting that the band's creativity levels are high (despite a vegan diet?!) and that future albums will reach high quality levels. Sometimes you want fast food, and any old rotten shit will do, but sometimes the clinical slab of fleshy excellence demands that much more, and Carcass continue to deliver excellent cuts even as they admonish you for enjoying them. The sampled flies that end the album aren't enough to put seasoned meat-eaters off such goodness; overall, not as sterilely sublime as Surgical Steel, but a more than respectable follow-up.

Killing Songs :
Torn Arteries, Dance of Ixtab, Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited, In God We Trust
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Carcass that we have reviewed:
Carcass - Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Carcass - Surgical Steel reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Carcass - Necroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
Carcass - Symphonies Of Sickness reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Carcass - Reek Of Putrefaction reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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