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Carcass - Symphonies of Sickness
Review: Melodramatic extremist grindcore explores the discontiguous nature of life's end in overdemonstrative but concise metapoetry involving simple, sloppy, grindcore riffs grating up against a metallic sense of extended arrangement and epic song construction. Despite the simplicity of the playing here, the players very skillfully manipulate simple melodies into the rhythm and handful of riffs and budget-composition elements to put together intense and wide-ranging songs.
Guttural grunting and shrieking mockery are the two voices of guitarist and bassist as they work through mini-operettas of gastrointestinal fate, vivisection, or organ decomposition. Probing and tearing rhythms afflict cyclic winding into consistent motion which then decays, bubbling and chortling in guttural vocal accompaniment to detuned, suppurating guitars. Riffs, and song structures, reflect more clarity, alluding to the structuralism that made death metal so distinctive because it crafted its songs from riffs-as-phrases which taken together, revealed an order which unlocked the commonality of its motives.
Carcass hang in deliberately dissynchronized rhythm, letting distorted and muddied phrases synthesize into lengthier, grinding masterpieces which satirize older melodic styles in barre chords shuddering through longer phrases. Varied are tempi, intelligently enough to pace songs against each other in settings from driving multiphrase blast beat to slow rolling double-hit death metal paces. Hardcore emerges as the face behind the genealogy in some running verses, bridge uptempo shifts, and deadpan industrial rock drumming; in other areas, hints of metal from the previous and current generation emerge.
Contrasted to earlier Carcass works, this album reveals its underground music genetics to be a more finely calibrated hybrid of grindcore/hardcore, which shows more of a rock 'n roll heritage in the short loops of its riffs, and the newly-minted death metal, which used longer loops in riffs and created musical information through the shape and changing direction of each phrase, not its harmonic destination. This is the more metal of the two early Carcass works. Though built from barre chords and refragmented rock beats, this album guides our eyes through an underworld of horror, fragile life, violence, anti-ideological compassion, and delightfully incognito absurdist humor.