Tue Sep 2 2008
Photograph: Tina Korhonen
Nokia Theatre Times Square; Sat 6
This year’s long, hot summer of the living-dead metal bands concludes with the most eagerly anticipated reunion of all: that of Carcass, an English group that defined and redefined extreme metal between 1986 and 1995. Guitarist Bill Steer (also of Napalm Death), bassist-vocalist Jeff Walker and drummer Ken Owen made their initial splash with the abrasive grindcore onslaught and gore-drenched lyrics of Reek of Putrefaction (1988) and Symphonies of Sickness (1989)—gleefully gruesome blurts that spawned dozens of imitators.
Adding second guitarist Mike Amott, Carcass cut 1991’s technical extravaganza, Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious, then took a sharp turn with 1993’s Heartwork, a melodic-death masterpiece filled with infectious riffs and guitar solos of regal elegance. The new direction once again inspired countless followers. But rather than assuming a position of prominence, Carcass was riven by personal conflicts and label troubles; Amott split in ’93, Steer two years later. Owen suffered a horrific brain hemorrhage in 1999, seemingly ending any hope of a future for the band.
But last October, Steer, Walker and Amott decided the time had finally come to remind the world of Carcass’s primacy. With Owen unable to endure the demands of touring, his throne was inherited by Daniel Erlandsson, Amott’s dependably blistering Arch Enemy cohort. (In a classy touch, Owen is earning an equal share of tour profits, and appearing in person wherever possible.) Everyone insists there’s no new album in the offing. Still, the reunion itself proves you can never say never.