Review – Carcass: Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel

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Review – Carcass: Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel
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Carcass: Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel
Melodic Death Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
November 11th, 2014
Release length: 17:41
One of the biggest moments in recent Metal history was the announcement of the return of Carcass, not just for a string of shows but into the studio. 1996’s Swawnsong marked the group’s fifth and then final new full-length effort, but 2013 would see that fact change. Earlier that year, the Captive Bolt Pistol EP was unleashed ahead of the group’s long hoped for sixth studio album Surgical Steel, a recording that left the Metal world split right down the middle. You either loved it, or you hated it. But that wasn’t all. Bonus tracks were on special and import editions, there’s the Decibel Flexi Disc of the Zochrot single, not to mention a split in early 2014 with Cerebral Bore. But, if you didn’t have the money or knowledge of these additional songs, Carcass and Nuclear Blast have you covered with Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel, an EP considered a tying up of loose ends according to frontman Jeff Walker. But is this collection of b-sides and one unreleased cut worth picking this companion piece up, or was there a reason these were all left behind in the first place?

Given that Surgical Steel was supposedly composed of material written by the band in the past that never actually was recorded, Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel is pretty much the same. “Intensive Battery Brooding”, taken from the Captive Bolt Pistol EP, is a slower paced track that puts the focus more on groove than anything else until the speed suddenly picks up for the guitar solo that is a welcomed change of pace. Then there’s the other two slows cuts “Zochrot”, taken from the Zochrot Decibel Flexi Disc series, as well as “Livestock Marketplace”. The first at least has a little more complexity in both timing and chords, while the latter literally just sounds like something rehashed from Swansong with a little extra Hard Rock attitude behind it.

Really, the only song that doesn’t sound like it’s composed of recycled riffs is “A Wraith in the Apparatus”. This mid-tempo cut has a little more technicality at work outside the fairly simple main verses and catchy chorus that stand as one of the better new compositions from this recording session. Truthfully, this easily could have fit in on Surgical Steel, but of course wound up being the bonus track from the Japanese version of the album. But, like how all this new material madness began, Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel ends exactly as the new album began, by pretty much reusing the same Arch Enemy style introduction “1985”, but renaming it “1985 (Reprise)”.

Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel is a nice little additional piece to round up the last of the Surgical Steel recordings without making fans fork over outrageous amounts for import costs or to on-line sellers charging near extortion prices for one or two songs on a physical medium. Now you can own what is presumed to be all the recorded material for that very album, given you also own the release much of these were original intended for. Honestly, even if you couldn’t get into the last full-length, Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel does have some catchy material that, while still familiar, can all be considered good performance that are at least worth throwing into an MP3 mix or home-made compilation album. Of course, since most of this has been made available in one way or another, you can probably check these tracks out on Youtube or other streaming sites on-line and see if it’s worth your time before running right out and grabbing the songs that originally didn’t make the cut.

01. A Wraith in the Apparatus – 3:31
02. Intensive Battery Brooding – 4:44
03. Zochrot – 3:22
04. Livestock Marketplace – 4:15
05. 1985 (Reprise) – 1:48
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.