With their proper follow-up to 2013’s Surgical Steel delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, English death metal titans Carcass put together a four-song EP to whet our appetites. “We want our fans and newcomers to have some new songs because we promised a new album and it’s been seven years,” vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker tells Apple Music. On Despicable, Carcass strike a very British tone, complete with references to The Beatles, a posh London neighbourhood and a cult Spanish horror film shot in England—all filtered through the melodic death metal/death ’n’ roll style they helped invent. “Like the new album, every song on Despicable sounds completely different,” Walker says. “But you can still tell it’s Carcass.” Read his comments on each track below.
The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue “When I walked into a video store in the 1980s, I thought this was such a bizarre frigging title for a Spanish movie that is actually not even set in Manchester. So I liked the title because it’s kind of surreal in a way—it’s a very British title as well—and it’s a very well-made film. But the lyrics are not based on the movie. I’m not that lazy or obvious. The subject is more hauntology, which is things from the past that put you in a time and place. Hauntology comes with age, I think, and two things happen as you age: You regress back into being a child—not that I ever grew up—and the past just seems like a better place.”
The Long and Winding Bier Road “We’ve always had these tongue-in-cheek links to The Beatles because we’ve always been accused of being a Liverpool band. So the title is playing up to that, and why not? [Guitarist] Bill [Steer] and [drummer] Dan [Wilding] had been jamming on these riffs for quite a while in my absence, and when I first heard it, it kind of reminded me of later-period Death, with more of a groove, for want of a better word. But I know people will say it sounds nothing like that.”
Under the Scalpel Blade “We released this song on a flexi disc through Decibel magazine late last year because I figured, wrongly, that our album would be out in March or April. It sounds a bit different here because of the nature of the flexi disc format and the mastering that has to be done. So this is a different master. Musically, we had this kind of Celtic Frost riff floating around for a while, and it’s very similar to a riff that we had on ‘The Master Butcher’s Apron’ on the last album, which people loved. So I thought people would shit their pants when they heard this, but no—that doesn’t seem to have happened.”
Slaughtered in Soho “The song title is an homage to Phil Lynott’s first solo album, and there’s a big kind of Ray Davies thing going on because there’s a lot of references to London in there. Again, it’s a very English thing, because ‘slaughtered’ in this context means inebriated, so it’s a play on words. I think of it as a celebration of this romantic Bukowski bullshit about drinking—and being a miserable drunk. Obviously, there’s more subtexts to it than that. It’s not just a rehash of the lyrics to ‘Thirsty and Miserable’ by Black Flag. Musically, Bill was thinking along the lines of ‘What kind of rhythm has Carcass never had before?’ There’s a lot of that on this EP.”