British extreme metal veterans CARCASS have released an animated video — created by Costin Chioreanu (OPETH, NAPALM DEATH) — for a new single, "Dance Of IXTAB (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 In B)", from their upcoming seventh studio album, "Torn Arteries", due out September 17 via Nuclear Blast Records.
CARCASS's founding vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker states about "Dance Of IXTAB (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 In B)": "The song is a foot-stomping festival anthem that will go unheard in an empty, vacuous, post-COVID world 'stadium', where used lateral flow tests blow around as litter in the breeze."
In 2019, the band released its first single in over five years, "Under The Scalpel Blade", followed by a four-song EP titled "Despicable" (October 2020), setting a potent precedent for "Torn Arteries". With the album title itself referencing an old demo created by original drummer Ken Owen back in the 1980s, "Torn Arteries" sits as a bookend on the modern side of the CARCASS discography, connecting directly back to where everything began over 30 years ago.
The "Torn Arteries" album artwork also rings reminiscent of the grotesque photography that appears on classic CARCASS album covers like "Reek Of Putrefaction" and "Symphonies Of Sickness". Artist Zbigniew Bielak traveled outside his normal wheelhouse to bring forth a time-lapsed set of photos showing vegetables shaped like a heart, rotting over time upon a white plate. This form of artwork was influenced by Japanese Kusôzu, meaning "painting of the nine stages of a decaying corpse."
"It's very clean, white, which we've never done before," explains vocalist and bassist Jeff Walker. "It doesn't look evil, or typically death metal, but I like how clean it is; almost like a coffee table book." This new album presents images, lyrics, and sounds that so distinctly scream CARCASS, but ferry us into a new era of production, songwriting, and art all together.
"I think as our seventh album, it does stand out from the others both sonically and stylistically," says Walker. "You can definitely tell that it's CARCASS; when you drop that needle on the vinyl, when you hear that guitar tone, you can tell it's Bill Steer, but each album is always a product of its time."
With "Torn Arteries", each track stands unique from the rest in its approach to guitar, bass, vocals and drumming, along with all the finer details. Filthy and dominating guitar work creates thick layers of tone and melody, piling on top of each other like the weight of dead flesh in tracks like "Kelly's Meat Emporium".
"The working title for 'Kelly's' was originally 'Stock Carcass'," laughs Walker. "We knew that one was a real meat-and-potatoes track for the album." Meanwhile, the elevated speed and catchy beat in "Dance Of Ixtab" tell a robust and airier story, one that is certain to get a reaction from live crowds. "We built this song around the beat. We had an approach to each song that was a definite idea," Walker says. "It's all about 'what haven't we done before?'"
Recording and production for "Torn Arteries" wasn't as simple as sitting down for a few weeks and knocking it all out, but rather spread out over the course of approximately one year bouncing back and forth between England and Sweden. Initially, drummer Daniel Wilding did session work in Sweden at Studio Gröndahl with David Castillo while guitars were recorded at The Stationhouse with James Atkinson in Leeds, England. Eventually needing some form of residential location to finalize vocals, bass, and other guitarwork, the band headed back to Studio Gröndahl in Sweden to continue work in a very relaxed atmosphere with Castillo. "There was no real big plan to do it this way, the process just organically grew on its own," says Walker.
Most will find that the only real struggle when indulging in "Torn Arteries" is fighting the desire to start it over the second it finishes. It covers substantial new ground for a band with such a reputation, while still retaining that addictive, time honored CARCASS sound that has come to represent the face of true death metal.
"Torn Arteries" track listing:
01. Torn Arteries
02. Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstances March No. 1)
03. Eleanor Rigor Mortis
04. Under The Scalpel Blade
05. The Devil Rides Out
06. Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited
07. Kelly's Meat Emporium
08. In God We Trust
09. Wake Up And Smell The Carcass / Caveat Emptor
10. The Scythe's Remorseless Swing
"Torn Arteries" is available for pre-order in a variety of bundles and formats, including CD, box set and limited-edition vinyl pressings.
Photo credit: Hannah Verbeuren