An improbable reunion, followed by an improbably killer new album (Surgical Steel), followed by a still improbable small-venue mini-tour, CARCASS have found a second wind in their lengthy career to deliver more than just a “reunion” jaunt. With two nights at The Troubadour in West Hollywood on September 28th and 29th, CARCASS paid a visit to the very venue that came to be their “last” Los Angeles show (1994) before their extended period of inactivity.
While certainly a treat for Los Angelenos, many in attendance travelled from distances to see the death metal legends, who expectedly so, delivered a thorough pair of shows as the professionals they are.
The shows (same set list) featured a healthy spread of songs spanning their entire catalog–even one off Swansong. And while there’s no arguing the impressiveness of their new album, Surgical Steel, the band were keen not to focus too heavily on new material.
CARCASS opened their set with “Buried Dreams“, who’s midpaced rock beat along with Jeff Walker‘s snarl summoned raised fists (and cellphones). Without question, songs from Heartwork, arguably their finest moment, proved to be as timeless live as on record. Considering the material is almost two decades old, it still remains ever powerful while transcending both death metal and rock.
Songs from Necroticism were well represented. Delightfully and unexpectedly, “Carneous Cacoffiny“, “Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition“, and “Forensic Clinicism/The Sanguine Articles” emerged from the deep end of Necroticism and into the earholes of the sea of metalheads. Those sounds combined with the creepy green stage lighting immersed everyone in 1992 Gods of Grind vibes.
Most warm and fuzzy, perhaps, was seeing and hearing guitarist Bill Steer sing his low-growl parts on the gore-soaked classics “Reek of Putrefaction” and “Exhume to Consume“.
Meanwhile, new members Daniel Wilding (drums) and Ben Ash (guitar) earned their keep. Daniel‘s contributions on new material are tops, but he really shined when accurately breathing life into original drummer Ken Owen‘s tasteful drumming parts.
The ever-humorous frontman, Jeff Walker, clad in a Taco Bell shirt in the style of the THIN LIZZY logo, was equipped with his usual half-wit, half-self deprecating humor. Walker lobbed jokes about aging metalheads (read: beer bellies and bald heads), amongst other things, in his deadpan delivery. We all laughed.
Not all was banter was laughter though. Walker‘s comedy routine hit a sensitive moment as he called out Bill as his “best friend”. How’s that for heartwork? Awww.
CARCASS then shrugged off the “leave the stage” encore routine and blasted into their closing song “Keep on Rotting” and promised to be back in March. Cautious expectations fulfilled and a tease for more to come? Yes, and thank you CARCASS.
Full set list:
“Incarnated Solvent Abuse”
“No Love Lost”
“Unfit for Human Consumption”
“Edge of Darkness” (intro) + “This Mortal Coil”
“Reek of Putrefaction”
“Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System”
“Pyosisified (Rotten to the Gore)”
“Exhume to Consume”
“Captive Bolt Pistol”
“Corporal Jigsore Quandary”
“Forensic Clinicism/The Sanguine Articles”
“Ruptured in Purulence” (intro) + “Heartwork”
“Lavaging Expectorant of Lysergide Composition”
“Keep on Rotting in the Free World”