While Carcass began their illustrious career with grim subject matter, lo-fi production and the kind of brutality that you might expect from another off-shoot of Napalm Death, Messrs. Steer and Walker quickly evolved with each release.
By the time they delivered their second album, Symphonies of Sickness, they were already mixing a little melody into their gore stew. Then, in 1991, Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious changed death metal forever; influencing generations of imitators to follow their path to technical ascendency. However, Carcass’ evolution had yet to plateau and what followed took their art to hitherto unknown heights of sophistication.
Heartwork took the world by storm. How? By taking a genre renowned for its barbarity by the scruff of the neck and wringing unheralded amounts of euphonius melody out of it, that’s how!
Somehow, a band who looked likely never to break free from the trappings of extreme metal miraculously retained their core ferocity while embellishing their sound with all manner of mainstream tropes. The result was seamless, with aggressive death metal and the polished confidence and ear-pleasing solos of mainstream rock and metal colliding in an exquisite whole.
Structure was the key, as Carcass fully embraced the penning of actual songs; songs that may have been propelled by brutality – significantly via Jeff Walker’s throat-shredding vocals, Ken Owen’s incredible footwork and a barrage of now classic riffs courtesy of Bill Steer and Michael Amott – but were governed by an ornate desire to deliver brilliant song after brilliant song.
25 years on and one thing is crystal clear. Heartwork is a masterpiece.
Heartwork was originally released on October 18th 1993 via Earache Records.