Carcass – “Captive Bolt Pistol”

In the last installment of Stereogum’s metal column, the Black Market, I ran down a bunch of second-half 2013 metal albums I was excited about, and included on that list Surgical Steel, the sixth album from English death-metal legends Carcass, and their first in 18 years. To be honest, I didn’t actually expect to see Surgical Steel in 2013, or maybe ever — it seemed more like a pipe dream than a record. But in a year that’s brought us new work from My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies, and reunions of the Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel — along with similar miracles from seemingly countless others — it seems like just about everything is possible. So here we have the first new Carcass track in almost two full decades, along with the Surgical Steel tracklist. It is a legit HOLY SHIT moment for me. It’s important to point out, though, that this version of Carcass is without two key members: original drummer Ken Owen — who left due to health concerns, but will, crucially, do guest vocals on Surgical Steel — and guitarist Michael Amott — who joined the band prior to their third album, 1991’s Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious, and who provided important contributions to both that album and its follow-up, 1993’s Heartwork. Both those albums are prominent in the conversation of Best Death Metal Album Ever. (Amott left before Carcass’s fifth album, Swan Song, to start his own band, Arch Enemy. Swan Song is one of the most reviled records in the history of death metal, although I actually, um … like it.) All that said, there’s absolutely no reason not to lose one’s shit listening to “Captive Bolt Pistol” — it’s a killer. Bassist Jeff Walker has said Surgical Steel will sound like the record that should have come between Necroticism and Heartwork; that’s an impossible standard to achieve, but again, seems like a lot of impossible stuff is happening this year. Listen.

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Surgical Steel tracklist:

01 “The Master Butcher’s Apron”
02 “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills”
03 “A Congealed Clot Of Blood”
04 “A Wraith In The Apparatus”
05 “316l Grade Surgical Steel”
06 “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System”
07 “Captive Bolt Pistol”
08 “Intensive Battery Brooding”
09 “None Compliance To Astm F899-12 Standard”
10 “Mount Of Execution”
11 “1985/Thrasher’s Abattoir”
12 “Unfit For Human Consumption”
13 “Zochrot”
14 “Livestock Marketplace”

Tags: Carcass