"Torn Arteries"

(Nuclear Blast)

1. Torn Arteries
2. Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No.1)
3. Eleanor Rigor Mortis
4. Under the Scalpel Blade
5. The Devil Rides Out
6. Flesh Ripping 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

RATING: 8.5/10

"Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited" is the name of a track that begins the second half of "Torn Arteries", the newest album from genre icons CARCASS. The song has a runtime of 9 minutes and 43 seconds. If you see that song length and worry that the venerable act that provided pivotal records that were grindcore and melodic death metal's building blocks has now turned their attention to the more flowery waters of prog-metal or had slowed down their assault to a funeral-doom lurch, rest easy. Though the track does begin with a short bit of acoustic guitar strumming, the following exhaustive metallic assault is a pure display of sinister brutality. Jeff Walker's vocals are as guttural as ever, the guitar riffs generated by Bill Steer and new addition Tom Draper (POUNDER) carry an infectious crunch and returning drummer Daniel Wilding pounds the skins with brute force. These things remain consistent through every tempo change taken during the track, whether it's a flurry of furious speed or a mid-tempo beatdown.

That consistency of the building blocks that CARCASS are playing with in 2021 form the full album's backbone. The group had returned triumphantly with 2013's "Surgical Steel", proving that the magic of their post-reunion concerts wasn't limited to reheating the hits on a live stage. Everyone knows exactly what the modern incarnation of CARCASS is capable of, and it's to the band's credit that they recognized that when writing and recording "Torn Arteries". For the most part, there are no surprises, unnecessary twists and turns, or attempts to play with conventions for the sake of doing so.

"Torn Arteries" is a simple reassertion that for every clone and wannabe that came along in the years following the band's initial hiatus — and have continued to poke their heads out of the mud following their return — CARCASS remains better than almost everyone else at generating a sense of sinister brutality with every riff and every lyric. It may be corny to use the phrase "clinical precision" given the nature of the band's lyrics throughout their history, but it also remains a true usage to describe how much impact every song hits with.

Wilding once again shows why Walker and Steer have placed their trust in his drumming abilities, leading the group into battle with drum bursts opening the furious flurry of the lead-off title track and the mid-tempo ground-and-pound of "Dance of Ixtab". Draper proves to be a worthy addition to the band's lineup with his furious shredding on "Eleanor Rigor Mortis" and tasteful teases of groove before an escalation in ferocity on "Kelly's Meat Emporium", while Steer reasserts his guitar greatness with a combination of stomping trudge and melodic shred on the "Heartwork"-evoking "Under The Scalpel Blade", all of this occurring while Walker once again provides a solid foundation with rumbling bass riffs that are nearly as visceral as his vocals.

CARCASS could easily have rested on the laurels of "Surgical Steel", sleepwalked through their follow-up record, and likely would have been forgiven by their fanbase. Thankfully, for the sake of our ears, they did otherwise with "Torn Arteries".


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