Did CARCASS's 'Heartwork' Inspire 'The Gothenburg Sound'? BILL STEER Weighs In

September 14, 2021

In a new interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast, guitarist Bill Steer of British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS addressed the suggestion that this band's fourth album, 1993's "Heartwork", was an influence on groups like AT THE GATES, IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY, who are part of what is now widely now widely known as "the Gothenburg sound," a subgenre of heavy metal music that combines death metal with the melodious and harmonic elements of the new wave of British heavy metal. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've met some of those guys. I mean, you could say I maybe know a couple [of them]. Jeff [Walker, CARCASS bassist/vocalist] certainly does. I've not really heard anything of that nature from them. I guess one or two of the guys in IN FLAMES seem to be admirers of 'Heartwork' or whatever. All I can say is it might have been a factor, but I think there's other things going on. When I hear AT THE GATES, for example, stylistically, I think that's fairly different from us. They plow a different furrow. It's much more kind of direct and focused, I suppose. Our stuff is more sprawling. So it covers more territory. But if you really want the kind of heads-down, meat-and-potatoes death metal with a bit of melodic spice, that's what they deliver. So I'm definitely aware that for a lot of people, that band is what it's all about. There are people who think that's where the melodic kind of strain of death metal originated and they perhaps just don't own any CARCASS records; it's not their bag."

Last month, Walker told "Scars And Guitars" that he didn't believe CARCASS was an inspiration for any of the Swedish melodic death metal bands. "I don't think those bands — and I use this word in a true sense — would ever admit to any CARCASS influence," he said. "They were running parallel at the same time. So I don't think that's fair to say that we had influence on those bands… I don't think we inspired them either. I think 'Heartwork' was as much a maligned album as [1996's] 'Swansong', in all honesty, back in its time. I don't remember getting rave reviews. I don't remember it being a very positive time. There was a lot of pushback against 'Heartwork' from our own fans."

CARCASS's seventh studio album, "Torn Arteries", will be released on September 17 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP title references an old demo created by original drummer Ken Owen back in the 1980s.

In 2019, CARCASS released its first single in over five years, "Under The Scalpel Blade", followed by a four-song EP titled "Despicable" (October 2020).

CARCASS's comeback album, 2013's "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.

Photo credit: Ester Segarra

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