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Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious

Carcass

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Album Review

As they'd done on their last album, Symphonies of Sickness (1989), Carcass continue to develop and expand their music on Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious. They'd begun as a grindcore band — in fact, one of the first and certainly one of the most influential — as showcased on their debut album, Reek of Putrefaction (1988). Then came Symphonies, where they stretched out the grindcore of Reek: longer song lengths, more innersong developments, further levels of musical complexity, better production, and so on. This trajectory continues on Necroticism as Carcass break free of grindcore's stylistic limits, crafting expansive songs that ever develop and hark back musically to early-'90s thrash (à la Megadeth circa Rust in Peace [1990] particularly). Necroticism, however, is a death metal album through and through, make no mistake. It may lean toward thrash as much as it does grindcore, but it's still awfully damn ferocious. Jeff Walker spews out his septic vocals in a manner sure to send children and grandparents fleeing, and his lyrics are just as medically jargonistic as ever, though a bit toned down in terms of shock value. Moreover, the band adds a second guitarist, Michael Amott, who frees up Bill Steer to solo more often and play more elaborately, which makes Necroticism very much a guitar album, more so than anything Carcass had recorded to date, and which elevates Steer to center stage, where he showcases precisely how much he'd grown as a musician since his days in Napalm Death. Necroticism ultimately is the crossroad between Carcass' seminal grindcore (i.e., Reek, Symphonies) and their latter-day, more straightforward death metal (Heartwork [1994], Swansong [1996]). As such, it's one of their most interesting albums, if not one of their best, reflecting their past while foreshadowing their future. Songs like "Incarnated Solvent Abuse," one of the album's highlights, illustrate this very well. Though often overlooked in favor of what came before and what came after, Necroticism is nonetheless one of the standout death metal albums of the early '90s. Produced by Colin Richardson, it sounds phenomenal, and the musicianship here is a huge stride forward for the band, especially that of Steer. [When Earache reissued Necroticism, the label appended the Tools of the Trade EP as bonus tracks. The three-song EP was recorded around the same time and thus fits in rather well with the songs of Necroticism, not only in terms of sound but also style. The EP's title track is especially noteworthy and a nice addition.]

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Often considered one of grindcore's founding fathers, Carcass were among the first bands of the extreme metal genre to try a different lyrical approach — one that reflected a fascination with surgical gadgets and peculiar words straight out of a med student's textbook. Hailing from the same locale that spawned the Fab Four — in case you've lived under a rock for the past few decades, Liverpool — Carcass were originally formed in 1985 by singer/guitarist Bill Steer (who would later...
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Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious, Carcass
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