Carcass was one the best grind/desth metal bands around. They started as a grindcore band but they became a brutal death metal band as you can hear in Heartwork, while Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious was an intermediate. Symphonies of Sickness is pure grindcore, and it can satisfy all your need for speed. In my opinion Swansong, their last masterpiece, is different, slower but still fucking cool metal.
If you want to get a good idea of Carcass in general, try Necroticism, it's not as technical as Heartwork and not grinding as Symphonies, but have both working together. Well, if you know Carcass you may say I'm forgetting Reek of Putrefaction, but Reek for me is nothing compared to any other Carcass record, it's just common...
It's said that Carcass started its rampage in 1985 recording a demo with Bill Steer (guitars, ex-Napalm Death), Ken Owen (drums), Jeff Walker (bass, ex-Electro Hippies) and a lead singer called Sanjiv. Sanjiv left the band and Ken Owen started his college studies (ecology), leaving the band inactive. Bill Steer, recorded the Napalm Death classic "Scum" at this time. So in 1987, the band rejoined as a trio, with Steer and Walker singing (or growling, if you want), making one of the best duos in the metal history, a new style on metal singing.
This formation released Reek of Putrefaction in July of 1988, in my humble opinion, the worst of the Carcass releases. A very bad production, even the best riffs were noisy due to its recording process. Not a black spot on Carcass history, but it isn't guaranteed to make the Necroticism, Heartwork and Swansong fans happy. Maybe the Symphonies ones. Even with those disasters, John Peel considered it the best release of the year and Kerrang! considered it a Killer one (4/5). Just fine, but the best was yet to come.
Symphonies of Sickness was released in the next year, a well produced record with killer music. Exhume to Consume, Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites and many others made this a pure grindcore classic. Kerrang! made it a klassik (5/5), and it reached the 15th place in the NME charts. A considerable achievement for a band that started as a joke. After it, in the Grindcrusher tour a new guitar player was needed to make all the Carcass efforts true. Mike Amott (ex-Carnage), joined the band making it a four-piece grinding machine. This terrific formation recorded the 3rd Carcass release, Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious. In one word, killer. Nothing more to say. Buy it or commit suicide! In this record you can notice that Walker is singing in all tracks, Steer sings only a few phrases. Well, but it's still good.
This record starts some female speech and then starts a light-speed drumming, Inpropagation is the name of this masterpiece, and it describes how deceased (burnt or decomposed) human matter can be used to feed the plants. Another cool one, Carneous Cacoffiny shows how can you make a symphony using strings all made of human twine. Creative, huh? Well, this is the fascinating world of Carcass. After those records based on pure necrotic situations, a new dimension of Carcass is released. Heartwork, a record that Symphonies fans slowly learned to worship brings a new lyrical aspect.
Carcass is no longer interested in bloodsheds, necropsy and similar. Now the rage goes against war (Carnal Forge), technology (Death Certificate), religion (Embodiment) and other subjects including how empty love can be (No Love Lost). I can say this is the Carcass record closest to perfection (even not being my favorite). Production, riffs, solos, lyrics and vocals all perfectly joined. Another step in the Carcass transition. After this recording Mike Amott left the band, leaving the function to Mike Hickey, a former Carcass roadie.
After the Heartwork tour Hickey left, so Carlo Regadas filled the space. With this formation Carcass made its last effort, Swansong. Well, not as good as Heartwork, Swansong featured some groovy tunes as Black Star, which chorus sounds like a 70's inspired band. No more lightspeed drumming, nor fast riffs, I can say Swansong is a good record. For me it's great, because I'm a Carcass fan, but for the others it's just average. After Swansong was recorded, Columbia didn't want to release it, so the Liverpool band had to search for some label to release it.
Earache released it one year after it was recorded, Steer left the band before it was released and the band decided to make Carcass history. The new release Wake Up And Smell The... Carcass is great , it's a compilation of the Carcass tracks on the Pathological Compilation, Grindcrusher Compilation, all the limited Swansong tracks, The Heartwork EP, Tools of The Trade EP, and 4 tracks taken off a radio show. It's booklet is cool as hell, lots of pics. If you're a Carcass fan buy it. If you have the EPs sell them and buy this one.
Another cool rumor, it's said that Black Star (J. Walker, K. Owen and C. Regadas' new band) signed a contract with Peaceville.