Carcass: Surgical Steel (2013)

Carcass’s comeback album, Surgical Steel, garnered critical praise upon its 2013 release. Reviews lauded its blend of technical precision, melodic death metal sensibilities, and the band’s iconic dark humor. The album reached commercial success, hitting the Top 50 UK Album Charts, and further solidified Carcass’s renewed importance in the metal landscape.

Track Listing

  1. 1985 (instrumental)
  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 F899-12 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

Length: 47:06


Melodic death metal

Release Date

September 13th, 2013

Record Label

Nuclear Blast Records

The Lineup for the Album

  • Jeff Walker: bass, lead vocals
  • Bill Steer: guitars, backing vocals
  • Daniel Wilding: drums
  • Ken Owen: backing vocals
  • Chris Gardner: backing vocals

Recording Date

Early 2013

Recording Studio

Chapel Studios (Derbyshire, England)

Produced by

Colin Richardson

Album Themes/Concept

Clinical Precision & Gore: As with previous Carcass work, there’s a fascination with gruesome medical details and imagery of surgery, butchery, and death. However, Surgical Steel approaches this with a chillingly cold, scientific vocabulary.

Industrialism and Mechanization: Titles reference tools and technical standards, suggesting a link between cold,uncaring industrial processes and the acts of violence and dissection described.

Dark Humor: Carcass’ trademark twisted humor is still present, even with the heavier themes. Over-the-top lyrics play with macabre imagery and ridiculous technical descriptions.

Album Mood

Technical and Aggressive: The dominant mood is one of sharp, surgical precision delivered with aggression. It’s not pure rage, but more like a controlled, focused intensity.

Sterile Atmosphere: The production and precise guitar work create a sense of clinical, mechanical detachment. This coldness amps up the unsettling impact of the lyrical themes.

Macabre Humor: Underneath the cold intensity, there are flashes of classic Carcass absurdity. Exaggerated song titles and absurdly technical lyrics introduce a sense of bizarre playfulness that cuts through the seriousness.

Album Trivia

A Comeback Success: Surgical Steel was Carcass’s first album in 17 years, following their 1996 breakup. Its critical and commercial success marked a triumphant return for the band.

Daniel Wilding’s Drumming Debut: The album marked drummer Daniel Wilding’s full-length debut with Carcass. His technical precision and energy revitalized the band’s sound.

Colin Richardson’s Production Reunion: Colin Richardson, who produced Surgical Steel, had also been behind the boards for some of Carcass’s most iconic albums early in their career (ex: Heartwork, Necroticism). This reunion played into the album’s sense of continuity and renewal.

Ken Owen’s Involvement: Despite suffering a brain hemorrhage in 1999, original drummer Ken Owen contributed backing vocals to Surgical Steel, showing his continued presence in the band’s spirit.

Listen or Pass

This album might be for you if you…

  • Enjoy melodic death metal: You like bands like At the Gates or Arch Enemy, where brutal riffs meet soaring guitar leads.
  • Appreciate technical skill: You’re impressed by fast, precise drumming and intricate guitar work, even within an aggressive context.
  • Have a dark sense of humor: Over-the-top lyrics about gore and visceral imagery don’t bother you, and might even make you chuckle.
  • Missed old Carcass and/or like comeback albums: You loved Necroticism or Heartwork, or enjoy seeing veteran bands evolve with a fresh energy.

You might want to pass this one if you…

  • Are sensitive to gore and violence: The lyrics and song titles are very graphic and medically themed, focusing on death and dismemberment.
  • Prefer pure thrash or old-school death metal: If you want just relentless aggression or a raw, lo-fi sound, Surgical Steel’s technicality might seem overly polished.
  • Dislike black humor in metal: The playful side of Carcass’s lyrics might seem out of place or disrespectful if you prefer metal to be very serious.
  • Are brand new to extreme metal: This isn’t an easy entry point. If you’re not used to harsh vocals and blast beats, try milder melodic death metal bands first.

Release Date

September 13, 2013