Revolver has teamed with Carcass for an exclusive white vinyl variant of their new album, Torn Arteries. It's limited to 500 — get yours before they're gone!
When extreme-metal titans Carcass formed in Liverpool, England, in the mid-80s, vocalist-bassist Jeff Walker would famously consult his sister's medical dictionary to find the most obscure and disgusting maladies — which he would then excerpt to populate the band's lyrics.
As their music evolved from incomprehensible goregrind to taut melodic death metal, Walker's lyrics often took a more sociopolitical and less graphic route, occasionally weaving in quaint English references (as with the band's new single, "Kelly's Meat Emporium" or the Beatles' nod "Eleanor Rigor Mortis") and classic-rock play-on-words ("Keep on Rotting in the Free World" from 1996's Swansong). But the blood-soaked thread of medical atrocities remained throughout much of their catalog. On the eve of the release of their new and seventh album, Torn Arteries (due September 17th via Nuclear Blast), here are 10 of the sickest Carcass lyrics.
As if the song title wasn't gross enough, Walker doubled down on this guttural blast nightmare, which imagines a scenario in which… well, the title really does say it all. Like many of their sickest, it's from the band's aptly titled 1988 debut, Reek of Putrefaction. Sample lyric: "Liquidized esophagus mixes with bloodied excretion/As you pathetically gasp for breath/The stench of hot feces scorch your nose/As you violently vomit to death." Verdict: Yum!
Again, Carcass prove to be paragons of truth in advertising: The song's title tells you exactly what it's about. In this horrific description of abortion by electrocution — again, off of Reek — Walker envisions a mad scientist (or doctor, or garden-variety psycho) frying human babies in their wombs. The delightful little ditty goes like this: "Plugged into the socket/Leads attached to twisting skin/Ignite the squirming foetus/To dissolve it from within."
They could've just called this one "Chewing Rusty Razor Blades," but "Oxidised Razor Masticator" is way more fun. The song itself — like everything on Reek — is hectic, brutal and sounds like it was recorded beneath a stack of wet mattresses. Bon appétit: "Your mouth is a sea of cartilage, rabid saliva bleeds/Swallowing shredded tongue and pulverized, crunching teeth/Respirating a bolus of rusty razor blades/Asphyxiating bloody garotte, tearing your jugular vein."
Anal rape is easily one of the least appealing topics on the planet, so obviously Carcass have a song about it. But it's not just anal rape. This nasty track from 1989's Symphonies of Sickness is way worse than that: "Sadistically sodomizing with my instruments of grime/Force-feeding it down your throat if I find the time/Vaseline and talc soothe the gored ano-obliteration/Sardonically I gloat on your rectal dislocation." There's more stuff about boiling the victim's anus and "brutally impaling" their rectum, but let's leave it there, shall we?
We're not entirely sure what's happening in this gruesome cut from Symphonies of Sickness, but it's pretty vile. There are definitely tumors erupting with an infestation of grubs and something else disgorging festering pus, but then there's this part about someone's guts melting: "The innards decompose, putrefy to jelly/The dermis ruptures with sialagogic cruor/Green putrefied offal explodes with the discharge/Bubbling viscera is splattered all over the floor." Yeah, hard pass.
By the time the band's style fully evolves from goregrind to death metal with their 1991 milestone Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious, Walker's lyrical prowess has improved considerably. He's still basking in gore, of course, but lines are tighter and more cleverly assembled. Take this passage from closer "Forensic Clinicism / The Sanguine Article," which envisions a psychotic butcher, high on nitrous oxide, filleting his victim with clinical precision. "The recumbent are my prey — under my genital blade/Your precordium I brutally plunder — whilst you're put under/Exsanguinating — you're totally parched/ Exenterating — removing body parts/Wholly abraded – surgically maimed/Decortication — medically slain."
In keeping with the general theme of Necroticism, "Pedigree Butchery" describes a particularly inventive way to get rid of a dead body. In a twist on the 1973 sci-fi classic Soylent Green, the song details a process by which humans are butchered for dog food. Of course, the entire album is elevated by the addition of Swedish guitarist Michael Amott — who would eventually go on to start Arch Enemy — but the lyrics are as unforgiving as ever: "As salubrious pet food/Human midden is consumed/Not one to mince my words/But now I love to see those siblings churned/In tins they are reared."
Let's say you're not into dog food — weirdo — but maybe cannibalism is more your thing. Carcass have got you covered with this track from their 1992 EP, Tools of The Trade, which bridged the gap between Necroticism and 1993's remarkably gore-free Heartwork. Check it: "Juices digested from each pus-swollen pore/Insatiable hunger as I feed on the gore/Nothing gives me greater pleasure than a bowl full of chyme/Maggot infested kidneys/Are what I choose every time." Verdict: Delicious.
While Carcass largely left explicit gore in the rearview on 1993's Heartwork and 1996's Swansong, their 2013 comeback album Surgical Steel brought a return to the abattoir. "Unfit for Human Consumption" tells a tale of cadaver dogs feasting on human flesh: "Appetizing/Diseased gastric dining/The cadaver dogs/In cold blood/Indulging in sarcocysts/Epicurean pericarditis/Cariosus tender and lean/After all you are what you eat."
Perhaps best known as the murder weapon of choice for fictional killer Anton Chigurh in Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men, a captive bolt pistol is used to stun cattle before execution. Being vegetarians, Carcass — like Chigurh — prefer its use on humans. This lead single from Surgical Steel brings the carnage: "Aimed Accles & Shelvoke cash/The cranium punctured, penetrated and mashed/Non-lethal pneumatic percussion cap/A meat suppressor rifled muzzled flash." Ever the history buff, Walker closes the song with a shout out to Hugo Heiss, the German slaughterhouse director who invented the captive bolt pistol in 1903.