Carcass – Torn Arteries (2021)

The Carcass guys never wanted to be grindcore; they wanted to be guitar fireworks speed metal, and on this album, they stick to roughly where they were on Heartwork: fast and intricate speed metal and power metal riffs based on established patterns with an ear for melody but linear development.

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Has Speed Metal Finally Become Assimilated?

From the flood of nonsense going through the news feeds, a sign that speed metal has gone mainstream:

A woman in New Zealand, refusing to bring another Mackenzie or Jack into the world, has named her three kids “Metallica,” “Pantera,” and “Slayer.”

Farrier reached out to New Zealand’s Registrar-General to inquire as to whether “there are any restrictions naming babies after band names, or albums.” He was told that there aren’t, “as long as the word used is not generally considered to be offensive or does not resemble an official rank or title.” This may rule out naming a baby after one of your favorite grindcore acts, but it did allow Farrier to verify the fact that Baby Metallica’s middle name is also—we’re not kidding—“And Justice For All.”

These kids will either have the best or absolute worst time in school, depending primarily on whether ‘80s thrash is currently cool with the youth—and whether lil’ Metallica has to deal with terrible classmates like “Napster” and “Decent Snare Drum Mixing.”

After nu-metal introduced chunky monkey riffs and gargled horse semen vocals to mainstream audiences, the percussive fast strumming riffs of Metallica, Overkill, Testament, Megadeth, Exodus, Anthrax, and their derivates (Pantera) probably seem tame, as do the later Slayer albums built around bouncy riffs and plaintively angry vocals.

When even Alex Jones uses Metallica songs for his interstitial music, and nostalgia for the 1980s and 1990s has overwhelmed a Western Civilization looking at the post-Clinton neo-Communist NWO disaster at the same time that people are seeking music from a mentally less muddled time, speed metal has become the archetype of all heavy metal, and therefore, has been easily assimilated by industry and mass culture.

Perhaps this explains why so many of the original death metal and black metal bands chose proudly to be underground, figuring that a few years of musical and artistic honesty would beat out becoming a careerist in a corrupt industry only to morph into Dad Rock as their fans aged into complacent suburban wage-serfdom.

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Necronomicon – Necronomicon (1986)

Certain releases provide useful waypoints, or nodes on the mesh through which history navigated a path, and Necronomicon with its self-titled shows us where 1986 had left the underground edge of metal: adopting technique from the new proto-underground, but still keeping a foot in bouncy speed metal land and unwilling to go fully to the tremolo style of Slayer or the epic song structures of Hellhammer.

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