Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Carcass Week: Symphonies of Sickness

We're back for the second day of Carcass Week! Yesterday we looked at Reek of Putrefaction, and today we'll be looking at Carcass' sophomore album, Symphonies of Sickness.

Symphonies takes massive steps forwards from where Reek left off, mainly in the production aspect, but musically it's still a big honkin' slice of goregrind. I went over what goregrind is exactly yesterday, so I won't cover it again here. Let's dive straight into the album!

Again, the censored version. Again, the uncensored is both  gross and NSFW. Here it is.

This review will be pretty short, because as far as the music is concerned, it's pretty similar in flavour and texture as Reek. It's frantic, brutal grind with absolutely addictive riffing courtesy or Bill Steer. Steer handles the lead work yet again, and his playing has evolved since the last album, as he delivers aggressive but melodic solos and passages over the rest of the chaos. It's another step closer to his legendary style of guitar playing that is shown on my favorite Carcass record, Heartwork. Also, keep in mind, those of you who haven't brushed up on your heavy metal history, that Michael Amott (of Arch Enemy fame) had not yet joined the band.

Everything else is an evolved version of Reek here, too. The drums are more tasteful, and the blast beats are actually in time(!), while Steer's vocals sound gurglier than ever and Walker's rasp is more focused and powerful. Songwriting is much better this time around as well, showing us that the boys know when to let loose with everything they've got and when to slow down and breathe.

The biggest difference between Symphonies and Reek, as I mentioned, are the production values. Like, holy shit. They're still not fantastic, mind you, but the album actually sounds like it was recorded in 1989 and not the stone age. The mixing is much better too drums are pushed higher in the mix, giving them the attention they deserve, and similar to their first album, the bass is turned up high, just the way I like it. This time around, everything fits together well and nothing gets drowned out or overpowered by anything else.

On a Playlist With: General Surgery, Exhumed, Haemorrhage

Overall Score


As far as old school goregrind and grindcore are concerned, Symphonies of Sickness is an enduring classic and deserves respect. I've gotten more into grind after listening to this year's new Napalm Death album, so I can definitely appreciate Reek and Symphonies much more now than when I first heard them. However, my ears still aren't 100% grind proof, and after every time I go through this album I've got to switch to something a little easier on the ears. 

For anyone who is into grind and hasn't yet listened to this (for whatever reason), you should give Symphonies of Sickness a listen. If you're not into grind, you probably won't like this album overall, but it'll probably have its moments for you. Symphonies is the last true grind release by the mighty Carcass, but it serves as a perfect template for their next album to expand upon. More on that tomorrow.

Carcass: Purulent Bile Excrement and Consumption 2: Consume Harder

That's Carcass: The Drinking Game 2: Drink Harder, for the normal people out there. The game works as so.

  1. Load up Symphonies of Sickness on to your CD player/ record player/ iTunes/ whatever.
  2. Print out copies of the lyrics to all the songs for everyone playing.
  3. Pour yourself a nice tall glass of your favorite drink.
  4. Press play and get blooddrunk.
As the songs play through, have everyone follow through the lyrics. Drink every time:

  • There's a word you don't know the definition of.
  • You think "ew", "gross", "disgusting" or any similar words after reading a disturbing line. If you notice one of your friends isn't drinking to this, that probably means they're a serial killer. I'm just sayin'.
That's it. Let's take a sample game through the song "Cadaveric Incubator Of Endo-parasites". Red are words I don't know, and Yellow are lines I think are disgusting.

"Cadaveric Incubator Of Endo-parasites"

The inset of rigor mortis, ulcerous corruption and decay
Saponified fats lather as soap as you slowly eat yourself away...
Organs savaged by rotten enzymes, rennin and rancorous cysts
A festering abcess immersed in ravenous autolysis...

Breaking down of dead tissue fuels methane gases
A smouldering human compost-heap of self-digested haemorrhage...
Emulsifying carnage, your purpulent torso is mummified
A mortified, marbled feast for drooling parasites...

Your lungs consumed in gore, slime and worm encrusted
Brittle tests eroded in hot, corrosive succus
Adhering to the bone, tissue necrosis a maggot feast
A cadaveric crematorium, gaseous spumescence leaks..

Your rump sustaining hostile organisms
Mould, eggs and larvae
Peptonized spleen, liver and kidneys
A wasting, degenerate slime

Septicaemic mutation
Of rancid meat and writhing life
Psychedelic, pustular platter of gunge
Come and take a bite...

Dormant fungoid growths
On the smarting human host
Come bathe, cleanse and wash
With livor mortis and dry rot......

Lice and ticks...

Flesh matted with hatching spawn
Endo-parasites incubate in the warmth
Mortician's implements to tap and bleed
The swarming insects' seed......

Lice and ticks...
expel bloody sick...

Leathery skin bubbles as blue-bottles hatch
Maggot infestation turns the rotting corpse black...
Slushy bowels move as our friends squirm
Flatulent belches - dry, festered and warm...

Total Drinks: 16

Things are a little heavier here with the ridiculous and potentially made up words. There are 10 tracks (16 with the bonus tracks included), which means 160 to 256 drinks. If you play through Carcass' first two albums, I guarantee you won't be waking up the next day. But you're all mature adults (that's why you're reading a blog post about drinking games for extreme metal albums), so I trust you all to drink responsibly and not die from alcohol poisoning.

That's all for now, folks. Tomorrow: Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious!*

*Totally typed that out from memory. Boo yeah.

No comments:

Post a Comment