Carcass is arguably the greatest melodic death metal band of all time. By “melodic” I also don’t mean vocally… their guitar work is melodic and almost symphonic in nature. Heartwork is easily one of my favorite death metal albums of all time. So I was incredibly excited when I heard they had new material out. Their first release since 2013’s Surgical Steel.
Despicable is just a 4 song EP and not a full length release. We live in the age of the bite size, so I can’t blame the band for putting out a 4 song EP rather than waiting to release a full length. This EP is densely packed with the kind of heavy riffs and metal grooves Carcass fans know and love.
The first track Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue is a roughly 6 minute track that winds through all kinds of change ups and has this really interesting breakdown riff that has an almost… dare I say “hip hop” feel to it? It eventually kicks back up into speedy, intricate death metal riffing and blasts you like a good metal song should up until the ending.
The Long and Winding Bier Road starts off with signature Carcass ocativized riffing and then meanders around like the title suggests. Eventually breaking down in the middle for a very textbook heavy metal guitar solo, before rolling back into that signature Carcass, 2 octave guitar riff that it began with.
Under the Scalpel Blade brings more signature Carcass riffing to the table. I know I keep going back to the subject of RIFFS but to me that’s where Carcass is so strong. These melodic, memorable, death metal guitar riffs are what truly separate them from their peers.
The EP closes out with Slaughtered in Soho a song that is based around this huge slithering melodic riff. I use the term slithering because it seems to slide back and forth in a winding fashion. When you listen to it you will understand… the main riff SLITHERS. The rest of the track is as heavy as the rest of the EP and by the time it’s over I’m ready for another listen.
Being an EP this batch of songs is short and sweet but also densely packed. One of the best things about metal like this is the re-listen value it has. You truly have to listen to a record like this multiple times in order to take it all in.
Despicable was released on October 30th 2020 and is currently available on all fine streaming services. Crank it.