Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Carcass was a British goregrind/death metal band formed by Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer together with drummer Ken Owen in 1985. They were based in Liverpool. On their first demo, an Indian named Sanjiv did the vocals. In 1987, bassist and vocalist Jeffrey Walker, formerly of the Electro Hippies , joined them.
The band focused on topics mostly relating to the medical field and bizarre combinations of medical equipment and chemicals with human anatomy. This lyrical focus lead many in the music press to falsely believe that one or more members of the band had studied medicine. There is more evidence to show that this lyrical focus was a method of pushing vegetarian beliefs (for example "Exhume To Consume"). Typical Carcass song titles from their early work include "Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition" and "Microwaved Uterogestation."
Having started their career as a goregrind band, the band gradually changed their sound and lyrical content. Starting with Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious, the careful listener could hear music-theoretic experimentation beyond the amodal noise of previous work, and even a hint of the harmonic minor scales that would later crystallise more fully. Their best-known album, Heartwork, was largely devoid of the gory lyrics and grind style that had been present on their earlier recordings, with a cleaner, more melodic sound, but retaining occasional forays out of more complex harmonies into amodal grind.
With Carcass having signed to Sony before the release of Heartwork, some fans regarded the evolved sound as proof of the sellout they had expected. In contrast, others were very receptive to what was perceived by many as a new zenith of talent and composition in death metal, showing a command of motif development and harmony that is underappreciated even within the metal community. In fact, today some credit Carcass with being a very early (some would argue founding) influence for not just one, but two genres of metal - grindcore and the Swedish melodic sound. Michael Amott left the band after Heartwork, replaced by Carlo Regarda. Carcass broke up after releasing Swansong, which drew more heavy criticism from fans for its melodic riffs and "mainstream" sound, which in some ways bordered on late 1980s thrash.
Ken, Jeff and Carlo continued with the Blackstar project, which went defunct after Ken suffered from a brain haemorrhage. Michael Amott went on to found Arch Enemy, a successful Swedish death metal band. In the biggest musical departure, Bill Steer reappeared in Firebird , a Claptonesque guitar-rock trio.
- Bill Steer - Vocals, Guitars (1987 - 1995)
- Michael Amott - Guitars (1990 - 1992)
- Ken Owen - Drums, Vocals (1987 - 1995)
- Jeffrey Walker - Vocals, Bass (1987 - 1995)
- Mike Hickey - Guitars (1993)
- Carlo Regadas - Guitars (1994-1995)
- Sanjiv - Vocals (1985)
- 'The mythical demo w/Sanjiv' (1985)
- Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment (1987, Demo)
- Reek Of Putrefaction (1988)
- The Peel Sessions (1989)
- Symphonies of Sickness (1989)
- Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)
- Tools Of The Trade (EP) (1992)
- Heartwork (1993)
- The Heartwork EP (1994)
- Swansong (1996)
- Wake Up And Smell The... Carcass (1997)
- Best Of Carcass (Japan 2-CD) (1998)
- Choice Cuts (2004)
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