Carcass (band)

Carcass (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Carcass

Img_capt = From left (behind to front): Bill Steer, Michael Amott, Jeff Walker, and Ken Owen
Img_size = 200
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Liverpool, England, UK
Genre = Grindcore/Goregrind (early) Death metal (mid) Melodic death metal (later)
Years_active = 1985–1995, 2007–present
Label = Earache
Associated_acts = Arch Enemy, Napalm Death, Brujeria, In Flames, Firebird, Carnage, Spiritual Beggars, Blackstar
Current_members = Bill Steer Jeff Walker Michael Amott Daniel Erlandsson
Past_members = Ken Owen Mike Hickey Carlo Regadas Sanjiv

Carcass are a grindcore / death metal act based in Liverpool, England. They came to be in 1985 and disbanded ten years later. A reunion was enacted in 2008 without one of its original members, drummer Ken Owen. [cite news|url=|title=Reunited Carcass confirmed for next year's Wacken Open Air||date=October 6, 2007|accessdate=2007-10-06]

Although widely regarded as pioneers of the grindcore genre, their early work was also tagged as "splatter death metal", [Filho 1993, page 56.] "hardgore" ["Carcass" 1991, page 62.] and "goregrind" because of their gruesome album covers and lyrical content.


Early Days

Carcass was formed by guitarist Bill Steer together with drummer Ken Owen in 1985 as Disattack. After releasing demo "A Bomb Drops..." in 1986, Paul (bassist) and Andrew Pek (vocalist) of Disattack left the band and was replaced by vocalist Sanjiv and bassist Jeff Walker, formerly bassist and vocalist of the Electro Hippies. About that same time Bill Steer joined Napalm Death (replacing Justin Broadrick) and recorded the second side of what became ND's first album, "Scum" (1987). Incidentally, Walker designed the cover art of that record.

The band had then changed its name to Carcass. In April 1987, they recorded "Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment" demo, the only Carcass recording featuring vocalist Sanjiv, who left shortly after. Walker and Steer shared vocal duties for debut album recording, which was done in only four days. Despite the primitive production values of Carcass's debut, "Reek of Putrefaction" - something the band was very displeased with [cite web|url=|title= Carcass - Perverted Sickos|date= June 1990|publisher= [ Rock Hard] |accessdate= 2008-04-30 Archived at [ Sex. Money. Food.] ] - it became a favorite of Radio 1 legend John Peel. [Mudrian 2004, page 132.] Due to his interest they were asked to participate in their first Peel Session in 1989 where they debuted new material for the second album. Peel Sessions was released as EP with funny band members' pseudonyms: K. Grumegargler, J. Offalmangler, W.G. Thorax Embalmer.

During this time between "Reek of Putrefaction" and the second album, drummer Ken Owen progressed from a single to double bass drum kit, allowing double bass beats to enter into the song writing process. This is stated by Walker to be one of the reasons why guitarist Bill Steer took Carcass more seriously and left Napalm Death.


"Symphonies of Sickness", the second album, along with much improved production (courtesy of Colin Richardson), featured more death metal structures, longer songs with more slow passages and guitar solos. The second half of the tour in support of 'Symphonies' saw the addition of second lead guitarist Michael Amott, whose previous work included Carnage. Amott was to become a permanent member, playing on the second Peel Session and contributing material towards their third album.

"Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious" showed even more intricate composition, this time with a full-fledged transition into death metal, and further improved production with a slight bias towards Walker's vocals compared to Steer's. Despite the addition of Amott to the ranks, Steer still handled all rhythm guitar duties, despite the album credits, with Amott only contributing leads. Carcass again supported the album with heavy touring, and were part of the Earache 'Gods of Grind' tour with Cathedral, Entombed and Confessor in both Europe and the US.

The "Tools of the Trade" EP was released in 1992 to coincide with the 'Gods of Grind' tour. It featured a "Necroticism" track ("Incarnated Solvent Abuse"), a new track "Tools of the Trade", a re-recording of "Rotten to the Gore" from the first album and a re-recording of "Hepatic Tissue Fermentation" from the "Pathological" compilation. Although it is hinted that the 3 bonus cuts were recorded at the same time as "Necroticism", they show a dryer production/mix to the aforementioned album.

"Heartwork", released later in the year in 1993 was considered a radical change by many fans, eliminated Steer's deeper vocals and the clinically gory lyrics. Again, Steer handled all rhythm guitar duties to help gain consistency between the many layered guitars that built Carcass' best production to date. Song structures, whilst still containing musically complex parts, were simpler, in some cases using the verse/chorus/verse formula.


After the release of "Heartwork", Carcass received a worldwide deal with Columbia Records, who hoped for a commercial success, even suggesting that Jeff Walker learn how to sing. Fan reaction was split between the charge that Carcass were no longer playing death metal at all and appreciation of the technical accomplishment the album shows. In fact, today some credit Carcass with being a very early founding influence for not just one, but two genres of metal - grindcore (or, more specifically, goregrind), and the modern melodic death metal sound. Michael Amott left the band right after "Heartwork" was recorded and was for a while replaced by Mike Hickey who was later replaced by Carlo Regadas.

During the summer of 1994 Walker remixed the track "Inside Out" for a Die Krupps remix album, although the version stayed fairly true to the original with the exception of Owen's drum samples from "Heartwork" replacing the Die Krupps original, and additional mixing from Walker and Colin Richardson at Parr Street studios (where "Heartwork" was recorded).

Carcass now set about writing songs for their major label debut. During the December 1994 UK tour Carcass showcased two songs from their current writing sessions - "Edge of Darkness" and "Firmhand", both showing a more straight forward song writing approach than on previous efforts. Around this time, "Edge of Darkness" was recorded for the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show sessions - a session which could be found on later compilation albums.


By late 1994 17 songs were ready and the band set about using their $200,000 advance to record the album, again with Colin Richardson, at Rockfield studios in Monmouth, South Wales in early 1995. During the 6 week recording schedule the record label began to withdraw support, stating that They (Carcass) were not ready to record and needed to write more songs. This advice was ignored, as was the suggestion to have Terry Date (Pantera, Prong etc) 'remix' the album, and the band continued. At the time, Jeff Walker stated in an interview with the UK's Metal Hammer Magazine that the album was taking more of a classic rock approach, with drums, bass and twin guitars a la Thin Lizzy in comparison to earlier 'multi-layered guitar' productions. This has since been put down to Bill Steer's unwillingness to perform the time consuming guitar layering (as once again Steer handled all rhythm guitar) through losing interest in the metal genre.

Due to continuing record company problems with Columbia/Sony causing the album to be delayed from late Summer 1995 to June 1996, in which time Carcass moved back to the Earache Records label and broke up before even releasing "Swansong". The move back to Earache was dubbed by Walker as "the second great rock and roll swindle" ("Kerrang!" - June 96) as they had effectively been paid twice for the same album.

Swansong, which featured twelve of the seventeen tracks put to tape during the recording sessions, drew some criticism from fans for its melodic riffs which in some ways bordered on late 1980s thrash. This last official album also incorporated more melodic elements ("Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody", "R**k the Vote") and some doom metal elements ("Don't Believe a Word").

The album only featured twelve of the seventeen songs recorded in the "Swansong" sessions (or thirteen on the original brain shaped edition with the bonus disc). "Kerrang!" reported in June 1995 that prior to "Swansong"'s release, Carcass would be releasing an EP featuring two tracks from what would be "Swansong" and three songs from the sessions that would not make the final LP. However, this EP was never released, most likely due to the lack of record company support for newly recorded material.

Walker has since stated in interviews that all seventeen songs should have been included in a double album, and that some songs omitted from "Swansong" were actually stronger than some of "Swansong"'s actual content.

During the "Swansong" recording sessions, Carcass were asked to remix a Björk track - "Isobel". This wasn't a remix as such but more of a re-recording with only Björk's vocals remaining. All rhythm guitars were handled by Steer, and the track saw light of day in March 1996 on Björk's "Hyperballad" single.

Carcass also remixed (i.e. re-recorded but kept the vocals of) Killing Joke's "Democracy", although this time Carlo performed all guitar duties as it is thought Steer had quit the band by early 1996. The Carcass "Rooster" Mix was made available on Killing Joke's "Democracy", and if it were not for the vocals, would not be out of place on "Swansong".

Around the time of "Swansong"'s release, Carcass informed the press that Carcass were to call it a day without even a farewell tour, but most fans had guessed this may be the case via the album title.

The album sold well, staying near the top of the 'Indie Rock Chart' in the UK for several months above bands such as Placebo despite having no touring support from the band. It is rumoured that the band were offered several lucrative tours in 1995, such as supporting Iron Maiden on their "X-Factour 95" which had the album been released as expected in 1995 could have improved the band's sales and longevity.

A posthumous compilation, "Wake up and Smell the... Carcass" was released in October 1996 to collect together Carcass' rarer material. This included the five "Swansong" session songs that did not make the final "Swansong" album, four tracks from the 1994 Radio 1 Rock Show session, the two "Heartwork" EP tracks, the non-album tracks from "Tools of the Trade" EP, and the tracks from the "Pathological" and "Grindcrusher" compilations respectively.

An accompanying video was released a few weeks after the "Wake Up" CD with little knowledge from the band or their management (Point Blank Management). The video, later released on DVD, featured five of the band's promotional videos, a show from the Grindcrusher 1989 tour (as a three piece) and a show from the 1992 Gods of Grind tour. Sound on the two live shows is poor, particularly the latter which Walker has described as 'unmixed'.

Ken, Jeff and Carlo continued with the Blackstar project accompanied with former Cathedral bassist Mark Griffiths, using the second "Swansong" advance (from Earache) to fund the recording. Blackstar (later Blackstar Rising) became defunct after Ken suffered from a severe brain haemorrhage. Michael Amott went on to found hard rocking combo Spiritual Beggars and Arch Enemy, a successful Swedish melodic death metal band. In the biggest musical departure, Bill Steer reappeared in Firebird, a Clapton-esque guitar-rock trio.


In June 2006, in an [ interview] with Walker, he discussed the possibility of reforming Carcass, but it was unlikely that Owen will participate as he cannot replicate his former drumming proficiency due to his health problems.

In September 2007 it was announced by Michael Amott that he is rehearsing with Bill Steer, Jeff Walker and Daniel Erlandsson (replacing Ken Owen, who is incapable of playing a full set with Carcass due to health reasons) in secret to rehearse old Carcass songs for a possible reunion tour. The original plans were to play at several festivals during the summer, but they couldn't meet the deadlines. []

On 5 October 2007, Carcass were confirmed to play at German heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air and Finland's Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in 2008. [] Carcass is also going on a reunion tour which started June 6. Including Wacken Open Air and Tuska Open Air, Carcass will be playing at Hellfest Summer Open Air, Metalcamp, and several other festivals. In June 2008, they announced a tour of Australia and New Zealand, to take place in October 2008, as well as plans to do a North American tour in September 2008.

Carcass will also perform an Exclusive UK show at Damnation Festival in Leeds, Jeff Walker hinted that the Damnation performance may be their last ever.It's the first time Carcass has played in England for 14 Years.

Carcass will also be re-releasing their entire back catalogue with bonus material over 2008 on Earache Records. [ [ ASK EARACHE: CARCASS- 5 DVD documentaries coming up soon ] ] When asked if the band were planning on writing and recording a new album, Steer replied:


* Bill Steer - vocals, guitars (1985–1995; 2007–present)
* Jeffrey Walker - vocals, bass guitar (1987–1995; 2007–present)
* Michael Amott - guitars (1990–1993; 2007–present)
* Daniel Erlandsson - drums (2007–present)

Former members

* Ken Owen - drums, vocals (1985–1995)
* Mike Hickey - guitars (on tour 1993–1995)
* Carlo Regadas - guitars (1995)
* Sanjiv - vocals (1985–1987)



* "Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment" (1987)
* "Symphonies of Sickness" (1988)
* "Heartwork" (demo, 1993)


* "Reek of Putrefaction" (Earache, 1988)
* "Symphonies of Sickness" (Earache, 1989)
* "Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious" (Earache, 1991)
* "Heartwork" (Earache, 1993)
* "Swansong" (Earache, 1996)


* "The Peel Sessions" (Strange Fruit, 1989)
* "Tools of the Trade" (Earache, 1992)
* "The Heartwork EP" (Earache, 1993)

Compilation Albums

* "Wake up and Smell the... Carcass" (1996)
* "Best of Carcass" (Japan 2-CD) (1998)
* "Requiems of Revulsion: A Tribute To Carcass" (2001)
* "Choice Cuts" (2004)


*Reek of Putrefaction
*Corporeal Jigsore Quandary
*Incarnate Solvent Abuse
*No Love Lost
*Keep on Rotting in the Free World
*Tools of the Trade


*"Wake Up and Smell the Carcass" (Two full live shows and all music videos)


*Die Krupps - 'Inside Out' (Remixed by Jeff Walker)
*Bjork - 'Isobel' (The Carcass Remix)
*Killing Joke - Democracy (Rooster Mix by Carcass)



* "Carcass: Symphonies of Sickness". (1991). Spin, 7(3): 62.
* Filho, Fernando Souza (1993). "Os novos rumos do Death Metal". Rock Brigade, 12(85): 54-6.
* Mudrian, Albert (2004). "Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore". Los Angeles, CA: Feral House.

External links

* [ Carcass] at Earache Records

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