Carcass - 'Despicable' EP Review
1. The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue
2. The Long And Winding Bier Road
3. Under The Scalpel Blade
4. Slaughtered In Soho
In October, British Death Metal titans Carcass released the EP 'Despicable' to please fans in the wake of a delay in their next album due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their first release with guitarist Tom Draper.
The EP starts strong with ‘The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue’, a razor-sharp song that sets up the EP perfectly. The band are on peak form, with classic chugs and snarling vocals from Jeff Walker. It begins as a fairly slow burner, but soon picks up the pace, with blast beats from drummer Daniel Wilding and harmonious yet brutal guitar work from Draper and Bill Steer. This pace stays for the rest of the song, providing winding solos and massive breakdowns, and it will surely get crowds moving when the band is allowed to play live again.
Carcass continue on with the aptly titled ‘The Long And Winding Bier Road’, which is fitting for the winding, intricate riffs that begin the track, and make appearances throughout the song. It maintains the brutality, with impressive growled vocal acrobatics from Walker and Steer, and a surprisingly melodic, intricate solo from Steer underlaid with chugs from Draper, as well as some great unison work in the choruses, and it all comes to an abrupt end.
‘Under The Scalpel Blade’, the first track released from the EP, is perhaps the most brutal. It slows the pace slightly, although it doesn’t lack in chugs and blast beats. Walker snarls right from the offset, and the instrument works is phenomenal. The entire band is in perfect harmony, working together to create something aggressively beautiful, with another phenomenal solo that gives way to an amazing 16 second scream, which is pure death brilliance.
The EP closer, ‘Slaughtered In Soho’, begins with more dual-guitar work, giving way to massive, chugging verses and an equally massive chorus. Carcass build and layer the track as it goes on, with cowbells being introduced in the second verse. I feel it verges on Prog Metal at times, becoming reminiscent of bands such as Mastodon, with their own unique death/gore twist. Another brilliant solo comes in, and the song ends on an atmospheric harmonic with one final snarl.
'Despicable' is a perfect stop-gap while fans eagerly await Carcass’ next album, 'Torn Arteries'. It says a lot for a band that’ll do something like this, giving fans new music that was promised even in the midst of a global crisis, and it isn’t just a half-arsed attempt to keep listeners at bay. It’s a masterclass 20 minutes of British Death Metal, made even sweeter by the seven year wait for a new Carcass release. Hopefully 'Torn Arteries' can expand on 'Despicable', but we’ll have to wait until 2021 to see.
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Review - Gordon Rae