Monday, December 24, 2012

Album Review: "Heartwork" by Carcass

It's about to get brutal up in here. Carcass are, well were, some pretty heavy boys. I had this album back when it was fairly new in the 90's and like many others, it slipped away from me. Even though I'm in my thirties now, I still like to blast some metal. A big part of that is because I love guitar. Many of the best guitarists play metal, so that's where I go to find it. Though I have to say that long gone are the days of my being in a mosh pit, stage diving, having long hair and piercings, etc. Sad isn't it? An aging metal guy.

Carcass has long since broken up and I have to say that this is pretty much a shame. Although this album is prototypical death metal, or grindcore, or whatever, it's more than just something like Cannibal Corpse and those kinds of guys. The first death band I got into was Morbid Angel. There's a group of guys that fall into every trap imaginable when it comes to death metal....

This album starts off heavy and stays heavy. There is not a single slow song on the record, but who's listening to brutal metal for the ballads anyway?

There are a few things about this band that I really love though. The drummer is not only adequate at keeping time, but he knows more than one drum beat for metal. Every song on "Heartwork" has a unique drum line. If this sounds redundant to you, then I would wager you've never heard "Covenant" by Morbid Angel. Pete "Commando" Sandoval didn't have this ability.

Aside from the extreme brutality of the guitars, yes I watch Metalacalypse, the leads were often times surprisingly beautiful. As this is an uptempo death album with galloping guitar riffs, there were some of the expected shredding solos, but even those had a musicality to them that didn't go unnoticed by me as I was listening through again.  The solos were never self-indulgent or excessively long. They were always tailored to fit the songs and often provided calming interludes. In some instances, I would describe the solos as longing. I noted at least two of the many solos were played on the neck pickup to give an even softer tone. The rhythm guitars though were a heavy sandwich of bricks, mortar, and midrangey sound. The sound was seems to have been crafted to fit the vocals.

Like with most grindcore acts, the vocals never changed. They were a constant growl over the guitars for about forty two minutes. As I was taking this album in again, I couldn't help but notice how the vocals really enveloped the guitar work. I honestly do not know if the rhythm parts were quality or not. They seemed to blend into the growls. If vocals are a big deal to you, this would be a good time to stop reading. Aside from that genre specific flaw, this is a great album if you can appreciate the extreme nature of this band.

Genre: Death Metal
Year: 1993
Run Time: 41:55
Playlists: Hail Satan A Cab


1) Buried Dreams
2) Carnal Forge
3) No Love Lost
4) Heartwork
5) Embodiment
6) This Mortal Coil
7) Arbeit Macht Fleisch
8) Blind Bleeding The Blind
9) Doctrinal Expletives
10) Death Certificate
11) This Is Your Life (Bonus track)

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