CARCASS's BILL STEER Says 1996's 'Swansong' Was 'Roundly Despised' Upon Its ReleaseMarch 9, 2020
Andrew McKaysmith of the "Scars And Guitars" podcast recently interviewed guitarist Bill Steer of British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he is aware that CARCASS has such a tremendous influence on extreme metal:
Bill: "To a degree, I guess we do. I don't think it's healthy to get too hung up on things about that. Every personal band member who claims you've been an influence, there's always someone else who is not aware of your stuff. Metal is more diverse than it's ever been and there are countless subgenres. In our little corner, yes, we've had an impact and that's fantastic."
On looking back on CARCASS's career:
Bill: "You start to make peace with all the things that bothered you from the past. There's enough distance — if it's a thing that used to bother you, it becomes harmless. That's one of the good things about getting older, I guess. I remember with each one of those records from that initial run of albums we did from the late '80s through to the mid-'90s, with each record, there were elements that we weren't particularly happy with. Sometimes you get quite bent out of shape about that stuff. You can't really feel that way now. You kind of look fondly on all of them after a period of time."
On whether he feels "vindicated" by the fact their 1993 album "Heartwork" has emerged as a classic in melodic death metal circles:
Bill: "I guess so. I mean, I think, I wouldn't want to use the word 'controversial' because that's maybe too strong, but if you're looking at say, 'Heartwork', which I think is album number four and that's from around '93, then the next one, the album that became 'Swansong', which we did in '95, then I think that actually surfaced after we broke up in '96, those are the two albums that get the most hotly debated. Obviously, 'Heartwork' is the most lauded, I suppose. I guess it's sold the best out of all those records, but around the time we did it, it was very divisive because I think maybe people felt the production was too good and we'd slowed down a little bit too much for their liking. We're still playing fast, but there was a variation going on and there were some tunes that were in the medium tempo zone and I think that was too much for some folk. We were aware that was going to happen. It just felt good for us to play that music. Yeah, down the line it was great when that album started to achieve some kind of following and become rated by people. That was lovely. It just took a while. It wasn't a particularly popular record at the time it was released."
On whether he thinks it was a good thing metal endured some hard times in the mid-to-late 1990s so it could emerge all the better the following decade:
Bill: "It's very hard to analyze something like that. I wouldn't be best placed to do so. I would say that something like 'Heartwork' was definitely not the right record for its time judging by the response it got. As I said, later on, it became fairly popular and that was really nice for us. The next record ['Swansong'], the band was history by the time it came out, but I gather that was pretty much roundly despised. It had an even longer incubation period where eventually some people came to grips with it. I have met people who favor that one out of all of our records. In the broader sense, I don't know. Once we had broken up, metal just seemed to become bigger than ever. By the time we reformed, for want a better term, the 'scene' was so different. I just didn't recognize many elements in it. There was just a huge business framework around the whole thing that hadn't been there before. You could say all things must past; change is inevitable. There were some really good sides to it, too. It just took a while for me to get used to it because I had been out of the loop. I had been playing different music in different places. I wasn't used to doing huge festivals to massive metal audiences at that stage."
CARCASS's new studio album, "Torn Arteries", is due August 7 via Nuclear Blast. This past December, the band released the digital single "Under The Scalpel Blade", which will also appear on the new LP.
CARCASS's 2013 comeback album, "Surgical Steel", sold around 8,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 41 on the Billboard 200 chart.
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