June 11, 2024

In an interview with Trooper Entertainment conducted during CARCASS's recent Japanese tour, vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker and guitarist Bill Steer discussed the band's latest addition, guitarist James "Nip" Blackford, who replaced Tom Draper in 2021. Steer said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, he's contributed enormously. We were in a little bit of a tight spot with guitar players because our previous guy, Tom, had issues with his green card application. So, James was the first choice in my mind. We were already friends, and I knew he was a good player. But he didn't just come into the band and work musically; he worked on the personal level. He just fits in with us. He's got the same quirky sense of humor, shall we say. He's just a good guy to have around. He's a real team player. And he does the business on stage completely."

Jeff added: "He was very nervous. When I talked to him the first time about joining the band, he was, like, 'Well, I might make mistakes.' And the only advice I could give him, which is great advice, is it doesn't matter if you make mistakes; it's how you recover from those mistakes. If you make a mistake and you stop playing — the best thing to do is carry on playing and just perform. As you saw, we weren't perfect every night, but it was still good."

Jeff added: "No disrespect to the last two players — Ben was Ben, and he was a great performer, and Tom was a great musician — but with James, we've got best of both worlds, I think. And that's no disrespect to those guys, 'cause they were doing their own thing, but I think James is a better fit — for the time being."

Bill chimed in: "It's not an easy task fitting in with our thing. We're people of a certain vintage. We're not normal guys, so to try and fit into that, and a band with a history. Obviously, it goes back a way.

Jeff continued: "It's weird. We forget that Dan's [drummer Daniel Wilding] only 35. So it must be really weird for him to deal with us. There's a generation gap, but it doesn't feel like it."

Bill concurred: "Yeah. He's like the most well-adjusted person. So he sort of keeps things on an even keel."

CARCASS's latest album, "Torn Arteries", was released in September 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. 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.

The "Torn Arteries" album title references an old demo created by original drummer Ken Owen back in the 1980s. The 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."

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