Heartwork Carcass - Heartwork (Columbia) 1994

1. "Buried Dreams" (3:58)
2. "Carnal Forge" (3:55)
3. "No Love Lost" (3:22)
4. "Heartwork" (4:33)
5. "Embodiment" (5:36)
6. "The Mortal Coil" (3:49)
7. "Arbeit Macht Fleisch " (4:21)
8. "Blind Bleeding the Blind" (4:57)
9. "Doctrinal Expletives" (3:39)
10. "Death Certificate" (3:39)

"Heartwork" is the fourth album by British band Carcass. Though the general tag associated with Carcass is death metal, "Heartwork" is so much more complex and even melodic than most death metal bands. I've read critics of the band complaining that the band were going for a more 'mainstream and commercial' sound. While I can agree that the sound is more accessible, it's certainly not mainstream or commercial. Carcass' "Heartwork" is still extremely heavy, with grinding guitars, biting riffs, and aggressive vocals. However, there is more concentration on songwriting and memorable riffs. What results is simply a musical masterpiece! Every riff, every solo, even the death vocals work so well together. When listening to "Heartwork" I'm reminded of Sepultura's "Chaos A.D." It's not so much that they sound alike, but they both combine complexity, solid rhythmic patterns and technical guitar riffs to create albums that demands spontaneous head banging. "Heartwork" is one of my favorite death metal albums of all time.

Swansong Carcass - Swansong (Earache Records) 1996

1. "Keep On Rotting In The Free World" (3:42)
2. "Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody" (4:17)
3. "Black Star" (3:29)
4. "Cross My Heart" (3:33)
5. "Child's Play" (5:43)
6. "Room 101" (4:35)
7. "Polarized" (4:02)
8. "Generation Hexed" (3:48)
9. "Firm Hand " (5:22)
10. "Rock The Vote" (3:53)
11. "Don't Believe A Word" (3:57)
12. "Go To Hell" (3:24)

Probably one of the most despised albums by the hardcore death metal crowd. Carcass went from writing gory, noisy death metal songs like Genital Grinder, Regurgitation Of Giblets, Maggot Colony, Exhume To Consume and Symphonies of Sickness to a more melodic, albeit every bit as heavy, style of metal that is hard to categorize. Of course the purists hated it and blamed it on the exit of guitarist Michael Amott. OK, perhaps there isn't a blastbeat in every song, and perhaps the the lyrics aren't gory anymore, and maybe this is a tad more commerical. However, radio friendly pop rock this is not. I hear a heavy NWOBHM influence on "Swansong" with some parts reminding me of those awesome works by Maiden and Saxon, while at other times I hear something akin to European thash bands like Sodom and Kreator. Unlike many Death Metal albums where each song blurs into the next, the songs on Swansong are each unique and easily recognizable. I know some death metal purists prefer it that way, but I much prefer this album to the gore/death metal the band was writing. "Swansong" is a fitting title for the band's final output (though they would reform several years later and release "Surgical Steel"). In my opinion this album, while stylistically a bit different, is every bit as good as "Heartwork" and is an underrated classic. Fans of grindcore may grimmace in pain listening to the mid-paced riffs and memorable songs, but fans of a more broad range of metal styles, especially traditional metal, will certainly enjoy this disc!

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