‘Top 50 Albums Of 2013’ Countdown – #1: Carcass – Surgical Steel

By Andrew Bansal

After an enormous gap of 17 album-less years, British extreme metal legends Carcass released ‘Surgical Steel’ via Nuclear Blast Records this year, their first studio effort since the 1996 release ‘Swansong’, and perhaps more importantly, the first set of new material released since the reformation in 2007. It maintains the core duo of vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker and guitarist Bill Steer, while marking the debut of drummer Daniel Wilding. Second guitarist Ben Ash joined the band after the recording for Surgical Steel was already done, so the album features Bill Steer in his full glory laying down all lead and rhythm guitar parts himself. His guitar mastery can be felt straightaway as the ‘1985’ intro kicks off the album in glorious style. This incredible 75-second guitar piece is the sheer definition of heavy metal. It instills boundless amounts of joy in the hearts of metalheads as they clench their fists, close their eyes and bask in its awesomeness, waiting for the rest of the album to sweep them away, and sure enough, once Surgical Steel kicks into gear with ‘Thrasher’s Abattoir’, Carcass’ signature brand of melodic extreme metal takes the forefront with severe skull-crushing punches one after another. The balance between Jeff Walker’s ferocious vocals and Bill Steer’s guitar work is the album’s strongest suit and simply goes to prove that Carcass still have what it takes to deliver on all fronts, with an album that pleases old timers while still shows an added level of maturity that has naturally come to these musicians with age, resulting in the creation of fresh, rich compositions that are relevant even in the modern metal scene. Besides the music itself, the album boasts of the dream team of Colin Richardson and Andy Sneap handling the production and mixing/mastering duties, giving it the finishing touch it needed to deem it a complete success. Carcass’ ‘Surgical Steel’ is, by far, the metal album of the year 2013.

Track Listing:
1. 1985
2. Thrasher’s Abattoir
3. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
4. A Congealed Clot Of Blood
5. The Master Butcher’s Apron
6. Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard
7. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
8. Unfit For Human Consumption
9. 316L Grade Surgical Steel
10.Captive Bolt Pistol
11.Mount Of Execution

Duration: 47 minutes

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The complete countdown…
#50. Nails – Abandon All Life
#49. American Sharks – Self-Titled
#48. Hatebreed – The Divinity Of Purpose
#47. Helen Money – Arriving Angels
#46. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Mind Control
#45. Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen
#44. Church Of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum
#43. Wolvserpent – Perigaea Antahkarana
#42. Djinn And Miskatonic – Forever In The Realm
#41. Czar – No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive 
#40. Against The Grain – Surrounded By Snakes
#39. Nekrofilth – Devil’s Breath
#38. Kylesa – Ultraviolet
#37. The Devil’s Blood – III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars
#36. Kadavar – Abra Kadavar
#35. Purson – The Circle And The Blue Door
#34. Carousel – Jeweler’s Daughter
#33. Kvelertak – Meir
#32. SpiralArms – Freedom
#31. Satan – Life Sentence
#30. Exhumed – Necrocracy
#29. Havok – Unnatural Selection
#28. Mothership – Self-Titled
#27. UDO – Steelhammer
#26. Ramming Speed – Doomed To Destroy, Destined To Die
#25. Revocation – Self-Titled 
#24. Gorguts – Colored Sands
#23. Kobra And The Lotus – Self-Titled 
#22. Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry Of Consciousness
#21. Saxon – Sacrifice 
#20. Noctum – Final Sacrifice
#19. Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
#18. Scale The Summit – The Migration
#17. Warbringer – IV: Empires Collapse
#16. Scorpion Child – Self-Titled
#15. Motörhead – Aftershock
#14. Holy Grail – Ride The Void
#13. Red Fang – Whales And Leeches
#12. Soilwork – The Living Infinite
#11. ASG – Blood Drive
#10. The Ocean – Pelagial
#9:  Anciients – Heart Of Oak
#8.  Cauldron – Tomorrow’s Lost
#7.  Enforcer – Death By Fire
#6.  Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed
#5.  Valient Thorr – Our Own Masters
#4.  White Wizzard – The Devils Cut
#3.  Clutch – Earth Rocker
#2.  Death Angel – The Dream Calls For Blood
#1.  Carcass – Surgical Steel