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Album Review

Although 1994's excellent Heartwork opus had already served notice of Carcass' increasingly commercial new direction, much of the group's loyal contingent of fans still viewed 1995's Swansong album not as a natural progression but as a huge betrayal. One of the leading lights of the British grindcore movement, Carcass had made a name for themselves with their unrelenting sonic fury and unbelievably disgusting lyrics. But on Swansong, much of that fury was reigned in to accommodate more conventional song structures topped with articulate, at times even humorous lyrics (see "Keep on Rotting in the Free World") from vocalist Jeff Walker. With axe men Bill Steer and Carlo Regadas trading scorching leads to pave the way, the band's technical mastery and newfound melodic sensibility come through like never before, resulting in a style reminiscent of latter-day Coroner, or even Megadeth's work in the early '90s. Memorable numbers like "Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody" and "Child's Play" highlight the quartet's keen sense of dynamics, and their desire to experiment with new sounds leads to such unexpected moves as employing acoustic guitars on "Firm Hand." Simply put, Swansong represents such a remarkable evolution (or de-evolution, depending, again, on your viewpoint) for Carcass that comparing it to their prior achievements leads to an interesting quandary. While it is easily the most accessible chapter of the band's career, the album hardly offers a fair introduction to the bulk of their brutal legacy. Therefore, while fans of unadulterated grindcore should approach with caution, listeners seeking out an excellent example of technical thrashing will love what Swansong has to offer.


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 play with Napalm...
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Swansong, Carcass
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