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Carcass - "Torn Arteries" (CD)

Carcass - "Torn Arteries" CD cover image

"Torn Arteries" track listing:

1. Torn Arteries
2. Dance Of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1)
3. Eleanor Rigor Mortis
4. Under The Scalpel Blade
5. The Devil Rides Out
6. Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited
7. Kelly's Meat Emporium
8. In God We Trust
9. Wake Up and Smell the Carcass / Caveat Emptor
10. The Scythe's Remorseless Swing

Reviewed by on September 22, 2021

"It would have been easy for Carcass to crank out the same thing just to play to the fans and get a passing grade, but instead they've taken what's made them one of death metal's most beloved bands and expanded on it..."

It's been eight years since fans were treated to the last full-length spectacle of gore from British brutalisers Carcass. "Surgical Steel" certainly didn't disappoint those who had waited seventeen years for a new release from the death metal favourites, but in terms of music, was perhaps a bit too safe, offering little new in the way of experimentation. After another long wait, Carcass has finally unleashed their seventh album, "Torn Arteries." Is it more of the same or does it build on the group's musical foundations to craft something new and exciting? You can read on to find out, but the answer is the second one.

Carcass is well known for helping to pioneer the melodic death metal sub-genre, thanks in part to guitarist Bill Steer's love of classic rock bands such as Thin Lizzy, and on "Torn Arteries," these influences really shine through. First of all, both Steer and second guitarist Tom Draper do an amazing job melding finely crafted melodies with grizzly death metal. While their work is prevalent throughout the whole album, it particularly shines through on closing number, "The Scythe's Remorseless Swing," which itself is a wonderful example of why Carcass is a death metal band that can appeal to those who aren't so keen on the heavier side of music.

Longtime fans of the band won't be let down by the tracks that stay firmly in the realm of straight death metal, such as the surprisingly catchy "Under The Scalpel Blade" or the title track. There are also some thrash metal elements to be found here, such as in the intro to "Elanor Rigor Mortis" and "In God We Trust," the latter of which also seems to be peppered with a Motorhead flavour. Meanwhile, "The Devil Rides Out" appropriately has some Western vibes about it, but is far from a country music number, proving to be a solid head-banging track that will go over well live.

There are a few parts of the album that can be nitpicked, particularly the penultimate track "Wake Up And Smell the Carcass / Caveat Emptor," where the first part of the double-barrelled song feels a bit more like a jam, though as expected, it's got plenty of excellent guitar work going on to keep it fresh enough. Elsewhere, "Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited," (which incidentally is the most metal song title since Exodus's, "Shovel Headed Kill Machine,") is a good song but really doesn't need to be almost ten minutes long.

All in all, "Torn Arteries" doesn't just meet expectations, it exceeds them. It would have been easy for Carcass to crank out the same thing just to play to the fans and get a passing grade, but instead, they've taken what's made them one of death metal's most beloved bands and expanded on it, crafting a more melodic take on their legacy, while still remaining as blood-soaked and vicious as ever. No one will argue that this was worth the wait!

Highs: "In God We Trust," "The Devil Rides Out" and "The Scythe's Remorseless Swing"

Lows: "Wake Up And Smell the Carcass / Caveat Emptor" doesn't meet the standards the rest of the songs set and "Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment Limited" is a bit too long

Bottom line: The worst thing about this album is that we had to wait so long for it. A tremendous display of force from Britain's best death metal band.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)