Surgical Steel (album)

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Surgical Steel
Studio album by Carcass
Released 13 September 2013 (2013-09-13)
Recorded at the Chapel studios, Derbyshire in 2013
Genre Melodic death metal
Length 47:06
Label Nuclear Blast
Producer Colin Richardson
Carcass chronology
Choice Cuts
(2004)Choice Cuts2004
Surgical Steel
Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel
(2014)Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel2014
Singles from Surgical Steel
  1. ""Captive Bolt Pistol""
    Released: July 2013

Surgical Steel is the sixth full-length album by British death metal band Carcass. The album was released on 13 September 2013 in Europe, 16 September in the UK, and 17 September in North America, via Nuclear Blast.[1] Surgical Steel is their first album since Swansong (1996). The album features the first songs Carcass has recorded since reforming in 2007. Surgical Steel is their first album with drummer Dan Wilding and their first to reach the Top 50 in UK album charts.


Carcass disbanded in 1996, prior to the release of their album Swansong. Walker, Steer, and Amott reformed in 2007 with Arch Enemy drummer Daniel Erlandsson as a live act and performed at festivals around the world for the next several years. In 2008, Steer said in an interview that a new album was unlikely due to Amott's and Walker's busy schedules.[2] Also in 2008, Walker told Decibel that the reunion would not produce any new material, saying, "I don't see how it could ever happen, because me, Mike and Bill are all bandleaders. There'd be too many guys thinking they know better." However, in that same interview, he acknowledged that Steer had been "showing [Amott] riffs" that may lead to new songs.[3]

While touring in 2008, Steer watched drummer Dan Wilding play and felt inspired by his similarity to former Carcass drummer Ken Owen, who had been unable to join Carcass for the reunion due to a cerebral hemorrhage he suffered in 1999.[4] Amott and Erlandsson left the band in 2012 to focus on Arch Enemy, and Steer and Walker recruited Wilding to record Surgical Steel, which they financed independently as they had no label backing at the time.[4]

Promotion and release[edit]

The German magazine Legacy premiered the Surgical Steel song "Captive Bolt Pistol" in June 2013 on a sampler CD, titled Hell Is Here, promoting the 2013 Party.San Open Air festival.[5] Nuclear Blast released the song as a free download on 16 July[6] and released a 7" vinyl single the week of 9 August with "Intensive Battery Brooding" on the B-side.[7] Carcass played a five-date North American tour in September 2013,[8] followed by a longer tour of Europe in November 2013 with death metal band Amon Amarth.[9] Decibel premiered "Zochrot", a song recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions, as a flexi disc included with Decibel's October 2013 issue.[10]

Surgical Steel was released as a CD in both a standard jewel case and a digipack, and as a double-LP on black or white vinyl. Additionally, a Mail Order Edition was released exclusively by Nuclear Blast. It is a box set containing the CD in a first aid kit, and is limited to 666 copies.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[12]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles 10/10[14] 9/10[15]
Loudwire 3.5/5 stars[16]
Metal Forces 8/10[17]
PopMatters 9/10[18]
Pitchfork Media 7.9/10[19]
Record Collector 4/5 stars[20]

Chris Dick of Decibel praised the album as a worthy addition to the band's discography, noting that the album has a more aggressive first half and more melodic and riff-driven second half. Dick wrote, "Surgical Steel isn't just an unfeigned return to form; it's a verifiably vicious one".[21] Mike Kemp of Terrorizer opined that the record wasn't a reinvention of the band's familiar sound, nor "a rehash of past glories". Instead, he called it a "bloody great death metal album" which fulfilled his expectations.[22]

In a positive review on the website Invisible Oranges, Alee Karim described the album's "machine-gun-picking strafes, heavy mid-tempo stomps, [and] virtuosic yet hooky Thin Lizzy-esque twin-guitar harmonies" and said, "This may not end up being your favorite Carcass album [...] but it may be objectively the best realization of their sound."[23] Hank Shteamer of Pitchfork called Surgical Steel "a nostalgic statement" that was "enjoyable". He also praised the musicians on the album, such as the "outstanding playing from Steer", "some of the tightest drumming in the band's discography", and called Walker "the star of the record".[19]

Surgical Steel was named 2013's Album of the Year by several metal magazines and websites, including Metal Assault,[24] MetalSucks[25] and Decibel Magazine.[26]

Track listing[edit]

The band recorded four additional songs during the Surgical Steel sessions that were not included on the standard edition of the album: "A Wraith in the Apparatus", "Intensive Battery Brooding", "Zochrot", and "Livestock Marketplace".[1] Additional songs were released on 11 November 2014 (North America), 14 November (rest of Europe) and 17 November (UK) on an EP titled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel. The EP is available on physical and digital formats.[27]

All lyrics written by Jeff Walker; all music composed by Bill Steer, Walker, and Dan Wilding.

No. Title Length
1. "1985" (instrumental) 1:15
2. "Thrasher's Abattoir" 1:50
3. "Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System" 4:02
4. "A Congealed Clot of Blood" 4:13
5. "The Master Butcher's Apron" 4:00
6. "Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard" 6:06
7. "The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills" 4:10
8. "Unfit for Human Consumption" 4:24
9. "316L Grade Surgical Steel" 5:10
10. "Captive Bolt Pistol" 3:16
11. "Mount of Execution" 8:25
Total length: 47:06
Digipak bonus track[28]
No. Title Length
12. "Intensive Battery Brooding" 4:43
Total length: 51:49
Japanese bonus tracks[29]
No. Title Length
12. "A Wraith in the Apparatus" 3:30
13. "Intensive Battery Brooding" 4:46
Total length: 55:22



Additional personnel[edit]


Chart Peak position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[30] 59
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[31] 24
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[32] 69
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[33] 87
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[34] 73
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[35] 6
French Albums (SNEP)[36] 82
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[37] 10
Irish Albums (IRMA)[38] 84
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[39] 42
UK Albums (OCC)[40] 47
US Billboard 200[41] 41


  1. ^ a b "CARCASS: 'Surgical Steel' Cover Artwork Unveiled". 10 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Willems, Steven (4 August 2008). "Interview with Bill Steer". Voices from the Dark Side. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Bennett, J. (October 2008). "The Insalubrious, Descanted". Decibel. Red Flag Media Inc. (48): 71–78. ISSN 1557-2137. 
  4. ^ a b mr ed (3 December 2012). "Decibel Exclusive: Jeff Walker Speaks About the New Carcass Record!". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "New CARCASS Song Featured On 'Hell Is Here' Sampler". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "CARCASS - SURGICAL STEEL - AVAILABLE VIA NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS". Nuclear Blast Records. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "CARCASS: "Captive Bolt Pistol" 7" Release Announced". Nuclear Blast America. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (1 August 2013). "Carcass Announce New North American Tour Dates!!!". MetalSucks. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "CARCASS – TEAM UP WITH AMON AMARTH IN EUROPE!". Nuclear Blast Records. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Decibel Tumblr post". Decibel Magazine. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "CARCASS: 'Surgical Steel' Box Set Packaged As First-Aid Kit". 24 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Meta". Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Surgical Steel - Carcass". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Perri, David. "CARCASS - Surgical Steel". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  15. ^ Van Horn, Jr., Ray. "CD Reviews - Surgical Steel Carcass". Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  16. ^ DiVita, Joe. "Carcass, 'Surgical Steel' – Album Review". Loudwire. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  17. ^ Arnold, Neil. "CARCASS – Surgical Steel (2013)". Metal Forces. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Brown, Dean (17 October 2013). "Carcass: Surgical Steel". PopMatters. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Shteamer, Hank (11 September 2013). "Carcass: Surgical Steel". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  20. ^ Patterson, Dayal. "Carcass Surgical Steel". The Record Collector. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Dick, Chris (September 2013). "Real Steel". Decibel. Red Flag Media Inc. (107): 79–81. ISSN 1557-2137. 
  22. ^ Kemp, Mike (October 2013). "Surgical Steel". Terrorizer. Red Century Media (240): 69. ISSN 1350-6978. .
  23. ^ Karim, Alee (26 July 2013). "Review - Carcass: 'Surgical Steel'". Invisible Oranges. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Bansal, Andrew. "‘Top 50 Albums Of 2013′ Countdown – #1: Carcass – Surgical Steel". Metal Assault. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "MetalSucks Readers Name Carcass’ Surgical Steel The Best Metal Album of 2013". MetalSucks. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Carcass’ "Surgical Steel" Named Decibel Magazine’s 2013 Album Of The Year". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "CARCASS To Release 'Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel' EP". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "CARCASS: "Surgical Steel" Pre-Order and Special Edition Track Listings Posted!". Nuclear Blast. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  29. ^ "Japan QATE-10043". 
  30. ^ "CARCASS: 'Surgical Steel' First-Week Chart Positions". Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
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  32. ^ " – Carcass – Surgical Steel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  33. ^ " – Carcass – Surgical Steel" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  34. ^ " – Carcass – Surgical Steel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  35. ^ "Carcass: Surgical Steel" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  36. ^ " – Carcass – Surgical Steel". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  37. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  38. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 38, 2013". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
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  40. ^ "Carcass | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  41. ^ "Carcass – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Carcass. Retrieved 7 November 2013.