Carcass’ Bill Steer talks 10 albums that influenced their new LP ‘Torn Arteries’
Pre-order our exclusive white vinyl variant of Carcass' new album 'Torn Arteries.'
Death metal legends Carcass continue to make vital music over 30 years into their career, as they just reminded us on their new album Torn Arteries (read our review). Vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker said the new album is Carcass' version of "dad rock," and you can hear what he means; it's still death metal, but it really feels like a rock album. We were curious about the specific influences behind it, so we asked the band and guitarist Bill Steer made us a list of 10 albums that influenced Torn Arteries, with commentary on each one.
Pick up our exclusive white vinyl variant of Torn Arteries while this limited-to-500 variant lasts, and read on for Bill's list...
Mercyful Fate - Melissa (1983)
It would have been easy to pick their first EP (1982) here, as that's had a big impact too. But this one contains "Satan's Fall" so it's probably got the edge. I've yet to hear anything that could stand next to that tune, it's a mammoth piece of work. One thing I like about Fate is, you can elements of their influences coming through - Priest, Heep, Scorpions, Travers - but they take it all somewhere else entirely.
Saxon - Wheels Of Steel (1980)
Great songs, punishing riffs and some lovely lead work. The ambience on Biff's vocal is fantastic. There are moments where Paul Quinn and Graham Oliver hit long powerchords, and you hear them start to feed back in a really musical way. We used a similar approach on both Surgical and Arteries. If the song's sitting on a long note or chord, let it catch and swell the way it would in a club.
Judas Priest - Killing Machine (1978)
It goes without saying that this is heavy, but there's also a swing to the music that you don't get with eighties Priest. It seems like there's more air in the sound, and the production is pleasantly fat and warm. "Take On The World" is a great example of how you don't always need a hi-hat or ride cymbal to drive a strong verse. We're by no means the only band to have picked up on that.
Raven - Rock Until You Drop (1981)
This album stakes Raven's claim as one of the earliest bands willing to push the speed limit for Heavy Metal. Their stuff is inventive, hyperactive... And they even pull off a brace of excellent Sweet covers. The title song commences with a cool clap-and-stomp vibe that certainly crossed one band member's mind during the percussion tracking for "Torn Arteries".
Black Task - Black Task EP (1985)
This is a truly raw, savage effort that grabbed all of us who encountered it back then. It sounds as if the whole thing was recorded live on the studio floor, no overdubs. A lot of younger bands might have been intimidated by such a scenario, but this lot sound as if they're foaming at the mouth.
Nazareth - Hair Of The Dog (1975)
If people want bone crushing heaviness, "Miss Misery" puts most of us to shame. Then there's the almost Latin swagger of the title track. You know how a certain musical feel - usually a drum beat - can just lock itself in your head and guts? Sometimes it's hard to rest until you've found a way to bring some of that to your own music.
Wargasm - Why Play Around? (1988)
Over the years we'd get the odd journalist asking about albums that influenced Carcass' music. This would be one I have mentioned many times. And with good reason, it's brilliant. The riffs are just unstoppable, and the soloing is killer too. Intense drums throughout. The vocals somehow manage the impressive feat of sounding both hostile and lazy. Pristine recording and mixes.
Zoetrope - Amnesty (1985)
Another mysteriously overlooked classic. These guys had that "never say die" spirit that you hear in only the greatest thrash recordings. Barry Stern, what a talent - not only an outstanding drummer but also a powerful singer. It's by no means a bad thing to have songs like these buzzing around your head on the way to rehearsal.
Scorpions - Lovedrive (1979)
Scorpions records of this era tend to include songs that make for excellent driving music. This one would be the prime example, and not merely because of the name. Here's a band that knows how to craft hooks and songs. Sometimes, when you base a tune on one of those double-handed hi-hat patterns, it's hard to not become locked into that, but these guys have the skill to keep the forward motion happening in their arrangements.
Blue Murder - Blue Murder (1989)
I know some folk consider this to be crotch rock, but musically it's a million miles from that. Underneath the glossy production are some classic power trio performances, very much rooted in the golden era of hard rock, but cranked up several notches. Here John Sykes takes the sonic identity he created with Whitesnake another stage further. It wouldn't be outlandish to state that this album and "1987" feature two of the most massive guitar sounds ever committed to vinyl.
Get Carcass' new album on exclusive white vinyl here.