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Carcass - Heartwork
Review: Starting life as a spinoff from Napalm Death, arguably the innovators of grindcore, Carcass made hard, simple, fast, off-time, loud, assaultive and deviously humorous material that sidestepped the angry politics of punk hardcore for a view of mortality that brought the focus of listeners back toward what, in life, was not an illusion of reality arising from social consensus.
On Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious, the band applied instrumental learning to craft more modern grindcore: tighter, abrasive rock-like harmonies and blasting rigid grindcore percussive structures, drawn more in the cutting edges of chords played off each other in compact structures than loose, heavy sludgeblasts colliding in the freespace of off-time drumming. Heartwork extends this progression further but also drops Carcass back to the stone age of their influences as young musicians, bypassing the hardcore/grindcore associated with their sound for 1970s hard rock and 1980s speed metal.
This flashy guitar-hero commercial hard rock, a sound Carcass had so seriously eschewed and mocked during their early days one wonders about the sincerity behind this album, has taken over direction and technique to convert underground metal into rock music dressed up to sound like extreme metal. The ornamentations of heavy metal accompany the distorted Carcass trademark rasp and the muscular sense of rhythm in riffing found on Necroticism, creating an unusual crossover reminiscent of later Megadeth, with more emphasis on extensive guitar solos (something generally played in noise rather than notes in early Carcass), interludes, dual guitar harmonies in the style of Iron Maiden harmonic meandering and a general resemblance to normal rock. Although this disc represents the descent into Pantera-styled crowd pandering that destroyed all cerebral aspects of underground metal, and so normed it into the commercial surrogate for socialization that is rock music, the musicianship is excellent: it creates its own space among listeners and moves into it, but never moves them.
It reeks of lost ambition and missing potential. The conversion of grindcore to its origins in accepted commercial rock did not sit well with the fanbase, and this album essentially slammed shut the career of this promising band.