Is this really a “surplus” of Surgical Steel, or maybe just a pile of uninspired “leftovers”?
I love Carcass, it doesn’t matter if it’s their gruesomeness from their beginnings, as the undisputed pioneers of Grindcore, or their more polished musicality adopted during the 90’s when they became a Melodic Death Metal band. For instance, Heartwork is in my opinion one of the most incredible extreme metal albums of all time, an album that was even capable of making it to MTV without sounding commercial, and Surgical Steel was a more than awesome comeback by those British metalheads. However, their new EP entitled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel sounds a lot more like “leftovers” than actually a “surplus”.
And what’s the problem with the EP if it’s the same band that launched one year ago one of the best metal albums of 2013? To begin with, there’s a huge lack of inspiration and motivation, as if they just released it for (more) money, which I refuse to believe coming from a band so cool as they are. Let’s face it, there isn’t a single song in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel that gets close to the awesome destruction found in Surgical Steel, or is anyone going to say anything in this EP is better than the excellent “Thrasher’s Abattoir”, “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System”, “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” or “Captive Bolt Pistol”?
The first track in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel, A Wraith in the Apparatus, is relatively decent, groovy and with less gory and more political/religious lyrics, a little different than what Carcass usually offer us (“Harmless or nefrarious / A gilded new church / A false god to worship / Blind acceptance with no repentence / A jaded new church / A false deity to service”). However, it’s nothing really special or outstanding, just a good song that if it had been included in Surgical Steel it would probably be one of its worst moments.
Although I enjoyed the guitar riff in Intensive Battery Brooding, that’s another song that doesn’t provide us anything memorable. It pretty much sounds like a lazy version of Megadeth or a failed attempt to sound more Sludge or Southern Metal, with its drums being as boring as possible. The last part of the song, a lot faster and more Carcass-ish, is kind of interesting, but again, that’s it. Zochrot showcases another good guitar work, but it sounds like one more “leftover” from the full-length album than something fresh and unique as a B-side is supposed to be.
Finally, we have Livestock Marketplace, which despite it’s extremely fun lyrics (“Fiscal sexuality for we are all whores & prostitutes / Life’s a celebration at the cattle market / The frigid and recycling death disco / Bestial passion at the cattle market”) doesn’t have the energy we love in the music by Carcass, it’s just like if they were jamming without any commitment to the final result. And I’m not sure why there’s a “reprise” to the intro of their latest album as an outro, named 1985 (Reprise): it doesn’t really make any sense, unless their goal with this was to inspire the fans to go listen to Surgical Steel, an album worth our money, unlike this EP.
It truly breaks my heart to acknowledge Carcass have tremendously failed in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel, but at least it’s just an EP with mediocre tracks that didn’t make it to Surgical Steel. Anyway, I’m sure whenever they launch a new full-length album it will be brutally amazing, with all those sick riffs and diabolical lyrics we all love from those metal icons from the UK. Until then, please go listen to Surgical Steel, Heartwork, Swansong, Reek of Putrefaction, the superb compilation Wake Up and Smell the… Carcass, or anything else but this disappointing jumble of leftovers.
Best moments of the album: A Wraith in the Apparatus is acceptable, especially compared to the other songs in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel.
Worst moments of the album: Unfortunately, almost everything found in the EP sounds really lazy and uninspired.
Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast
1. A Wraith in the Apparatus 3:31
2. Intensive Battery Brooding 4:44
3. Zochrot 3:22
4. Livestock Marketplace 4:15
5. 1985 (Reprise) 1:48
Jeff Walker – bass, vocals
Bill Steer – guitars
Ben Ash – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums