“Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious” is the 3rd studio album by British death metal band, Carcass. It was released in 1991 on Earache Records and produced by Colin Richardson. The line-up for the album was Jeff Walker (vocals/bass), Bill Steer (guitar), Michael Amott (guitar) and Ken Owen (drums).
Following up 1989’s “Symphonies of Sickness”, Carcass decided it was time for a change with “Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious”. The album is less grindcore and heading more into the realms of death metal than anything, as the band became a four piece with the addition of Michael Amott. It is interesting to note that the band elected to add spoken word at the beginning of songs, which add to the gore factor of autopsies.
Spoken word intro: “A body is committed to a public mortuary. Any victim of sudden or unexpected death will be brought here for a post-mortem by a pathologist; their job is to establish the cause of death. But sometimes a body is unrecognizable. Then it is vital, especially if murder is suspected, to establish identity.”
The song begins on all the right notes, and it is clear that Colin Richardson’s production has altered Carcass’ sound, as has the welcome addition of a second guitarist in future Arch Enemy stalwart, Michael Amott. What does remain is the band’s ability to make records out of the macabre, in this instance making fertilizer out of dead bodies.
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Spoken word intro: “Identifying the bodies which are decomposed, dismembered, skeletonised pose very serious problems. We’ve had many cases in this department where a body has been found in pieces, or decomposed, and we’ve been able to put things together. Yes, the head, the upper part of the body, in a very badly decomposed state.”
This track starts with Ken Owen’s wonderfully sounding double bass before the twin attack of Steer and Amott kicks in. The guitar riff in particular is one of the main highlights of the album, and the first solo by Steer will be a joy to hear for the fan of the genre. The track is about piecing a corpse back together to identify the person.
Symposium of Sickness
Spoken word intro: “That’s why I find it so amusing that the latter-day saints of our business; one, attribute to me motives that just weren’t there, and two, accuse me of corrupting morality, which I wish I had the power to do. Prepare to die.”
The song begins in the old Carcass style, with grinding guitars leading into the dark-pitched lead vocals, sharing some lines with the backing vocals of Steer and Amott. The lyrics suggest the song is about drinking the blood of a cadaver at a ritualistic party. There is a highlight of the song at the ending guitar riff and solo which bring it back to life a little.
Spoken word intro: “Oh my God! What are these? You can hear people puking. They’re dog meat!”
The tightness of the playing is evident throughout this song, and many will enjoy its ferocity. The highlight being the riff leading into the chorus, and Ken Owen’s full use of his drum kit is a joy. The track is pure death metal, and the lyrics are quite shocking. The song is about grinding infant bodies for dog food.
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Spoken word intro: “If visible identification is not possible, the pathologist may be able to take fingerprints from the body until decay sets in, things become more complicated.”
Many Carcass fans like this song for its lyrical content, and if there was a poll for best Carcass songs, it would feature a lot. The track is about turning a man into glue then sniffing the fumes, which is nice… if you like that sort of thing.
Spoken word intro: “Human remains in a beaker and tray and coffee pot. Bones which were being partly macerated, dissolved, in a margarine container which had engine coolant in it. It smelled very awful.”
The slowest song on the album, “Carneous Cacoffiny” is about making musical instruments out of human body parts. The track grinds along at a slow tempo, and only gets going in the last third section, when Bill Steer hammers out a solo of epic proportions. It’s not a shredding solo, but more of a laborious, “I know what I’m doing” type of thing.
Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition
This has no spoken word intro, and is a song about concocting some sort of drug and dying from its use. It is a complete change from what we’ve been used to on the album so far, but that doesn’t stop the very heavy musical aspects of the track. Steer and Amott once again show that Carcass as a four piece works better than a three piece.
Forensic Clinicism / The Sanguine Article
This has no spoken word intro. It is a very good song to end the album on, with lyrics about a surgeon who mutilates people while they’re still alive, and could make you wonder if “Hostel” writer and director, Eli Roth, is a Carcass fan. It is probably the heaviest track on the album, packed with killer riffs and sublime drumming.
This is probably the definitive Carcass album, commercially, although it’s a completely different change in genre from their previous two albums, but shows that the band can evolve. Musically, it is a special blend of brilliance, and the production is some of the best heard on any album. Lyrically, it’s a bit of a shocker for some, but if it can be overlooked, then it is going to be well received.
2. Corporal Jigsore Quandary
3. Symposium of Sickness
4. Pedigree Butchery
5. Incarnated Solvent Abuse
6. Carneous Cacoffiny
7. Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition
8. Forensic Clinicism / The Sanguine Article