Friday, 13 April 2012

CARCASS - Swansong (1996)

01  Keep On Rotting In The Free World
02  Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody
03  Black Star
04  Cross My Heart
05  Childs Play
06  Room 101
07  Polarized
08  Generation Hexed
09  Firm Hand
10  R**k The Vote
11  Don't Believe A Word
12  Go To Hell

'Swansong' is the final studio album by the British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released on June 10, 1996 in the UK via Earache Records. It is the only album to feature guitarist Carlo Regadas. This album was intended to be their major label debut, having been signed by Columbia Records following the success of Heartwork, but disputes with that record company caused them to return to Earache. 'Swansong' reached No. 46 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and drummer Ken Owen states that he considers 'Swansong' to be "the ultimate Carcass album".

From a musical standpoint, this is Death Rock indeed or rather, according to the band members' own words, "Rot'n'Roll". The songwriting is quite different in respect to previous Carcass standards. In fact, the construction of the tracks appears to be simplified, being mostly based on verse-chorus-verse structures. The result is an odd hybrid between aggression and melody, wisely emphasized by almost constant mid-paced tempos. Gone are most of the double bass drums, the brutally heavy riffs and the medically-obsessed lyrics. Replacing said elements are melodic riffs, conservative drumming and politically charged lyrics, exemplified in songs such as "R**k the Vote" and "Polarized". Anyway, the distinctive sound of the band is well preserved, though undeniably progressed: I think it's still instantly recognizable as a Carcass record.

All in all, some can claim that with 'Swansong' Carcass definitely attempted to sell their souls to the mainstream, but by no means is the material here is inferior to their previous works. I just think it's another step in the maturity/evolution of the Carcass and shows how the band were talented and inventive. No matter what they played, they were great at it. While I understand that not all the old fans liked the change of style, I feel that this album is rated way below its actual merit. The highlights here would have to be; "Keep On Rotting In The Free World", "Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody", "Black Star", "Child's Play", "Room 101" and "Don't Believe a Word".

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