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An album by Carcass

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metal feast.

  • Mar 7, 2003
This is no _Symphonies of Sickness_, or even _Neuroticism_ (an album of transition). The lyrics are still immoderately verbose, but with this album Carcass left grindcore behind them. Melodic, exhilarating, @zz-kicking metal is the order of the day with _Heartwork_ -- this is not a crushing grindcore sludge. While its influence on early NWoSDM may have been exaggerated (In Flames' _Lunar Strain_ and At the Gates' _Terminal Spirit Disease_ came out in the same year, after all), I think many bands were definitely inspired by the songwriting genius here.

The album is defined by its brilliant riffs: the sleek guitar harmony of "This Mortal Coil"; the toxic metal grooves of "Buried Dreams" and "Arbeit Macht Fleisch"; ripping chugga thrash-fests of "Heartwork" and "Carnal Forge"; the stop-start meltdown of "Doctrinal Expletives"; and so on and so forth. In terms of quality _and_ quantity, the riffs on this one album top the entire careers of most metal bands. I'm always blown away when I listen to this album -- the writing is just _that_ good. The guitarwork is totally imaginative and intense and brilliant. Michael Amott is a guitarist to rival John Petrucci, and naturally Bill Steer is a stunner as well. This guitar duo is easily up there with other master pairings like Murray-Smith and Wichers-Frenning. (If only Amott's current band, Arch Enemy, was as good as his work on this album! Then the dissolution of Carcass would not be so unfortunate.)

The mix's low-end is kind of "fwumpy" and Jeff Walker's snarling vocals sound synthetic and weird sometimes (although I like them anyway). These are niggling points in any case -- this is essential for metal fans.

*And* that sleek H.R. Giger sculpture on the cover sure is sweet... Heck, even if the music was awful it'd be a nice addition to the collection just to look at it.

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Clayton Reeder ()
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Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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Heartworkproves that this band, which once buried technical perfection beneath layers of grotesque noise, is capable of shining as cleanly as the steel H.R. Giger sculpture on the cover of this death-metal classic. All of the bludgeoned progressions are intact, but this time they swoon rather than suffocate. This is a meticulously constructed grindcore masterpiece that sounds fresh, but never abandons the unique twists of the genre it helped create. By playing fewer notes, the impressive structure behind Carcass's compositions is revealed. It turns out the snarling skeleton that emerges is just as lethal as the menacing muck from which it crawled.--Ian Christe
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Label: Earache Records
Artist: Carcass
Release Date: September 10, 1996

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"metal feast."
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