Death metal elite Carcass blast back with punchy EP ‘Despicable’ that maintains surgical essence

There’s no real reason to wax poetic in this introduction, because we’re here to talk about Carcass, one of death metal’s most legendary bands, so they don’t need me trying to establish an ambiance in order to discuss them. They have a new EP, it precedes their next full-length that is expected in 2021 (that is if 2020 ever truly ends), and it’s a pretty good time.

“Despicable” is the band’s first release since their incredible 2013 return album “Surgical Steel,” a record that was met with an avalanche of praise, and rightfully so. These four new songs follow along that’s same path, so if you dug “Surgical Steel, you’re going to feel pretty at home with this collection. I’m not sure these songs are better than anything that’s on “Surgical,” but they’re in the same league, and if you’re like me, the more you visit, the more you’ll like these cuts. The band—bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker, guitarists Bill Steer and Tom Draper, drummer Daniel Wilding—maintain their edge, ripping out quality melodic death metal that remains bloody and deadly, which is really all anyone could ask.

“The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue” bleeds in with guitars rising before the punches are thrown, and Walker’s growls scrape away. The guitars tangle as the pace changes up and tramples, and soloing unleashes steam that wilts wills, coming back with a pulverizing pace that is catchy and chaotic as the track comes to its end. “The Long and Winding Bier Road” has snaking riffs and strong melody over the verses while the song makes good on its title by taking you on neck-jerk bends. Vicious growls dig into the flesh, trudging amid fluid guitar work that scatters. The fun main riff then rounds back and helps the track end with a crunch. “Under the Scalpel Blade” has the guitars sinking its talons as things get thrashy, and a maniacal chorus plays with your psyche. Vicious riffs arrive as soloing blinds and glimmers, lighting up the room while the momentum barrels through and burns off. “Slaughtered in Soho” unleashes great guitar work and a more channeled pace that aims to leave bruising. Melodic leads ice bruised flesh as the soloing ignites fires but also explores outer space, giving an essence of strangeness before the track comes to its end.

We still have a little but of time to wait before we get the proper follow-up to “Surgical Steel,” but “Despicable” is a nice appetizer as we wait for that collection. If this is a mere preview of what’s ahead, it demonstrates Carcass are on the same path they were seven years ago, which is a good thing, and that means there are nasty, good times ahead. This is a fun EP that packs a lethal punch and will have you reveling in death metal greatness.

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