Friday, August 3, 2012

Carcass Week: Heartwork

Sorry for the delay, I was really busy yesterday jumping on trampolines to post this.

Alright guys, almost done. We'll take a little walk through Carcass' second last album, Heartwork. This album is my favorite of all their releases, and I hold it as one of my favorite metal albums of all time. So without further ado, let's crack open this masterpiece and take a look inside.

Leave it to H.R. Giger to make even the peace symbol creepy as fuck.

Heartwork is the classic case of:
  1. Band has previously released br00tal material.
  2. Band releases new record exploring softer sounds and new territory.
  3. Butthurt fans galore.
Now, when I say "softer sounds", I'm talking about death metal. I know, I know, death metal isn't soft music. I said it was softer. Because everything is softer than goregrind. Well, maybe guttural slamming prono-deathgrind or Merzbow are harsher, but still. Death metal is lower on the heaviness scale than grind.

Heartwork carries onward with the same lineup as Necroticism. Jeff Walker on bass and vocals, Bill Steer and Michael Amott on guitars and Ken Owen on drums. For me, this is the winning lineup, each member putting in the perfect mix of aggression, melody, and interesting songwriting. Steer steps down from the position of backing vocalist and leaves Walker to growl and howl his way through the album alone. This isn't a bad thing at all, because Walker has developed his vocals into fearsome and blood curdling screams.

There are harmonized guitars and beautiful leads all over the place, and the riffs just blow you away with their originality and power. I still haven't heard anything like the instantly recognizable intro riff to to title track, and the opening of "Carnal Forge" is one of my favorite riffs ever. Carcass is practically grind-free on Heartwork, and are starting to step out of the gore theme too. Not entirely, mind you, because there are still some grindy passages here and a couple of songs about dismemberment, disembowelment and disfiguration, but not enough for the album to be considered goregrind let alone plain old grindcore.

What I love most about Heartwork is how catchy it is. Not only is the music great old school melodic death metal (melo-death), but the album is filled to the brim with memorable guitar passages and vocals. When I say old school, I mean "this album pioneered the genre" old school (for those keeping track, that makes Carcass the gorefathers of grindcore and one of the originators of melo-death. Pretty impressive track record, right?). Although you can't pull any sort of melody out of Walker's growls, they still seem to stick in your mind like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.

Honestly, there isn't really any major flaw I can point out in Heartwork. It's not too long. It's not too short. Every song is at worst enjoyable, and at best an instant classic. The production is clear and keeps everything even in the mix. Although I hold this album in the highest regard, and it stands today as one of my favorites (it makes surprisingly good music to iron your shirts to), it still seems like there's just something missing. I don't know what it is, though. There's something missing that's keeping Heartwork in my top 20, but not in my top 10.

On a Playlist With: At The Gates, Carnage, (old) Cannibal Corpse

Overall Score


Evile singer/ guitarist said everything there is to say about Heartwork. He called it "just one of the best albums ever".

Unfortunately, there's no Carcass Drinking Game for Heartwork, and there won't be one for Swansong either. If that makes you a sad panda, just break out Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness again.

That's all for now, folks! Next up for Carcass Week we've got the final installment: Swansong!


  1. Oooh, music reviews! I just found your blog and I'm gonna follow it! I don't listen to death metal that much, but I'm a HUGE Rammstein fan, and I guess their stuff is classified that way. Good music for when you're pissed, ha!! I'll check out these guys too, thanks for the recommend!

    1. Thanks for following! :D

      Occasionally I review non-metal music, usually whenever I find an awesome artist or album. I haven't given Rammstein enough of my attention, and I've been meaning to get back into them for a while now.

      If you have any recommendations (any genre is welcome) or requests, let me know! I always love talking music!

  2. Your blog description killed me xD

    1. I just realized... I haven't made a post about bacon yet! I've got to get on that shit!