Carcass has announced their intimate United Kingdom tour, the Bloody Blighty 2023. The tour is set to kick off on May 27th in Slay, Glasgow, and will conclude on June 9th at The Asylum in Birmingham. The announcement has excited the band’s United Kingdom fans, who have been eagerly awaiting their return.
Carcass is a British extreme metal band that emerged in the mid-1980s and has since become one of the most influential and pioneering bands in the grindcore and death metal genres. The band’s history and cultural significance is deeply rooted in the development of extreme metal and have shaped the way we think about the genre today.
The band, hailing from Liverpool, England, are considered one of the pioneers of the goregrind subgenre, which combines elements of grindcore and death metal with gruesome and often explicit lyrics focused on medical imagery and disease.
Carcass’ founding members, Bill Steer (guitar, vocals) and Ken Owen (drums), were originally part of the punk scene in Liverpool, England, but quickly found their niche in the burgeoning heavy metal scene. The band’s early demos, such as ‘Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment’ and ‘Symphonies of Sickness,’ showcased the band’s unique blend of gore-obsessed lyrics and complex, technical music.
Carcass’ musical style is characterized by fast and aggressive guitar riffs, complex drumming, and guttural vocals (Sharp, 2017, p. 123). The band’s early sound was heavily influenced by grindcore and punk, with songs that were short, chaotic, and often featured themes of gore and violence. As the band’s sound evolved, they incorporated more elements of death metal, with longer and more complex songs that featured intricate guitar solos and melodic vocals (Purcell, 2003, p. 85). Carcass’ unique blend of grindcore and death metal has earned them a reputation as pioneers of both genres and has influenced countless other heavy metal bands (Sharp, 2017, p. 123).
Carcass’ early releases, including their debut album ‘Reek of Putrefaction‘ (1988), were seminal works of grindcore which became an instant classic in the underground metal scene. Ferocious blast beats, down-tuned guitars, and gory lyrics characterized the band’s sound. The band’s early sound was heavily influenced by grindcore, a genre that was emerging in the United Kingdom at the time.
‘Reek of Putrefaction’ album’s cover art, which featured a grotesque depiction of human innards, established the band’s reputation for pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable in the genre and reflected the band’s fascination with medical and forensic pathology (Sharp, 2017, p. 123). As a result, the album was a critical success and helped establish the band as a leader in the extreme metal scene.
The band’s next two albums, ‘Symphonies of Sickness’ (1989) and ‘Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious’ (1991), continued to refine Carcass’ sound and cement their place as pioneers of the emerging death metal subgenre. These albums featured intricate guitar work, complex drumming, and darkly humorous lyrics that explored themes of medical horror and human decay.
However, with the release of ‘Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious,’ Carcass began to incorporate more melodic elements into their music. The album features complex song structures, dual guitar harmonies, and an increased emphasis on technical proficiency.
Throughout the 1990s, Carcass released several highly regarded albums, including ‘Heartwork’ (1993), and ‘Swansong’ (1996) (Purcell, 2003, p. 85). These albums demonstrated the band’s evolving musical style, incorporating more melodic elements and complex song structures while still maintaining their aggressive and uncompromising sound.
However, Carcass shocked the metal community by releasing ‘Heartwork,’ a radical departure from their previous sound, which saw Carcass undergo a significant stylistic shift from their earlier works, which was more focused on gore and violence. With ‘Heartwork,’ Carcass delivered an album that is still considered a landmark in the development of melodic death metal, featuring a more polished and melodic sound while still maintaining the band’s extreme metal roots.
Indeed, ‘Heartwork’ witnessed the band incorporate more melodic elements and a more polished production, which alienated some fans and brought Carcass to a broader audience. The album was a critical and commercial success, and has since been recognized as a classic in the genre. Still, unlike previous albums, ‘Heartwork’ lyrics focused on the dehumanization of society and the loss of empathy in modern life, deeply entwined with more melody and raspy vocals while still retaining their extremities.
Carcass continued to release critically acclaimed albums throughout the 1990s, including ‘Swansong’ (1996), which marked a further evolution in the band’s sound with its incorporation of more rock and blues elements. The album also signaled the band’s final release before their hiatus. It is often regarded as the weakest album in their discography, featuring a more experimental and varied sound that did not resonate with fans at the time.
Despite their success, Carcass disbanded in the early 2000s, with Steer and Owen moving on to other projects. However, Carcass reunited in 2007 and released their first album in seventeen years, ‘Surgical Steel’ (2013), an album that saw the band return to their roots while incorporating elements of their melodic death metal sound. The album was well-received by fans and critics alike, with many praising the band’s ability to combine their classic sound with more modern production techniques.
Their latest album, ‘Torn Arteries’ (2021), is an intense and brilliant collection of death metal, melodic death metal, and thrash metal. The album is a showcase of the band’s talented musicianship, and it is sure to appeal to fans of the genre.
The album opens with the title track, an incredibly intense and aggressive death metal track. It showcases the band’s impressive musicianship, vocal delivery, and some truly memorable guitar riffs that will stay with you long after the song ends. Other highlights include ‘Kelly’s Meat Emporium,’ which features some of the most melodic playings in the band’s discography, and ‘Under the Scalpel Blade,’ a song that will get your head banging and features a beautifully melodic solo.
The production of ‘Torn Arteries’ is top-notch, and the band perfectly captures the intensity of their performances. The production is clear and powerful, allowing the listener to really appreciate the band’s mastery of their instruments. The album is well-mixed, with the guitar riffs and drums standing out and the bass present but never overwhelming the mix.
With a legacy that spans over three decades, Carcass’ discography is a testament to their ability to evolve and innovate within the extreme metal genre. From their early grindcore roots to their melodic death metal sound, the band consistently pushed the boundaries of what was possible within extreme metal. While their stylistic shifts were not always well-received by fans, they always remained true to their artistic vision resulting in a unique and complex musical style that has inspired numerous other musicians and bands.
In addition to their musical innovations, Carcass has also made a significant impact on heavy metal culture. The band’s graphic and controversial lyrics have pushed the boundaries of censorship and sparked debate on issues such as animal rights and the meat industry (Purcell, 2003, p. 85).
Carcass’ music and message have also helped to spread the popularity of grindcore and death metal, both in their native United Kingdom and around the world (Sharp, 2017, p. 123). Today, Carcass remains a highly respected and influential act, with a devoted fan base and a legacy that continues to shape the grindcore and death metal genres (Purcell, 2003, p. 85).
One of the strengths of Carcass’ music is their ability to combine technical proficiency with memorable songwriting. Their riffs are often complex and challenging, but they are always memorable and catchy. Additionally, the band’s lyrics have always been thought-provoking and often delve into social and political commentary.
In terms of weaknesses, Carcass’ experimental tendencies on ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Swansong’ may not have resonated with fans at the time, but it is a testament to their willingness to take risks and explore new sounds.
Nonetheless, Carcass’ influence on the heavy metal genre cannot be overstated. Their combination of technical proficiency, gore-obsessed lyrics, and dark humor has influenced countless bands in the death metal and grindcore subgenres. Moreover, the band’s willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of what was acceptable in the genre has inspired a generation of musicians to challenge the status quo, and with their continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of extreme metal, Carcass remains a vital and important part of the heavy metal community.
Despite the band’s popularity, Carcass has not played a major United Kingdom tour since the 1990s. The Bloody Blighty 2023 tour will give United Kingdom fans a chance to experience the band’s unique brand of extreme metal in person.
Carcass’ return to the United Kingdom stages has been eagerly anticipated by fans and has generated excitement in the metal community. The band’s live performances are known for their energy and intensity, and their return to the United Kingdom stage promises to be a must-see event for metal fans.
The Bloody Blighty 2023 tour offers United Kingdom fans a chance to see one of the most influential bands in the extreme metal genre live and in person. We encourage fans to secure their tickets early, as this is a tour that is sure to sell out quickly.
In conclusion, Carcass’ history and cultural significance is deeply intertwined with the development of extreme metal. The band’s early demos and classic albums established them as pioneers of the death metal subgenre, while their willingness to experiment and evolve has kept them relevant over the years. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to the band’s music, we encourage you to explore our selection of Carcass merchandise and experience their unique blend of horror, dark humor, and technical proficiency for yourself.