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Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction
Review: Grindcore arose from the ashes of punk, which took rock 'n roll riffs and stripped them down to keyless powerchord streams, and added to it the metal sense of a poetic summary or "heavy" conclusion, where earlier riffs formed a narrative that when summed up in a final bridge added context to the song and, in that sense of distance projected, gave new weight to what had transpired as narrative. Carcass injected this style with a grotesque, ironic sense of humor which, like the Misfits before them, turned 1950s style rock music into a parodic horror suggesting a society of pleasant illusions hiding a corrupt and more literal reality.
Songs surge forth with riffs played at full punk speed but drums often lagging in slower paces, giving a sense of insouciant urgency as a storm builds below; riffs are mostly of the rushing style pioneered by Discharge that sound like changes in fast-moving water currents, and by their ambiguous tonal centering suggest an ongoing revelation and not a static state. These vary in the rock style from riff to chorus, but then are summarized in the best interpretation of heavy metal, with longer melodic phrases -- mimicking the cheerful melodies of early rock music, transposed into minor keys and dissonant modal dislocations -- that draw internal contrast to a scenic viewpoint, gesturing a completion and yet expansion of themes.
While the new style of grindcore, including the saprophytic vocals and booming disintegrating guitar tone, seized the imagination of most, what made the work of Carcass and others a new style was their interpretation of music itself: they mocked the past by simplifying it and directing it to expose seamy undersides instead of shiny new facades, but in doing so, revealed an irony to this pursuit, which is the frailty of humanity and the absurdity of its condition. On this album, the desire to sense of the gore and horror and give a vision of the future was not yet subsumed by this irony, which like all fragments is simpler than a whole and so, like heroin, a tempting meme.