On their first album in eight years, Liverpool death metal titans Carcass double down on the infectious harmonized riffage and medical-atrocity lyrics of their 2013 comeback album, Surgical Steel. To say that Torn Arteries is long-awaited is an understatement: The album was originally supposed to be out in early 2020. In fact, Carcass released the first single, “Under the Scalpel Blade,” in late 2019. When the pandemic hit, the band decided to delay the record’s release until they could safely tour. To tide fans over, they released the four-song Despicable EP in October 2020. But now, the moment of truth has arrived, and Carcass vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker isn’t giving any spoilers. “I don’t want to talk about the lyrics because you’re giving the game away,” he tells Apple Music. “It defeats the object of me not wanting them on the album, and you’re kind of instilling in people how they should be thinking.” Still, we managed to extract some comments from him on some key tracks.
“Dance of Ixtab” “Ixtab is the Mayan goddess of suicide by hanging. I’ve no idea how I stumbled across it, honestly. I could say I was on an alien peninsula or something, but that’s bullshit. Maybe I was watching From Dusk Till Dawn. I was probably doing some ‘research,’ and we all know what that means these days: Google. But it’s not glorifying suicide or dwelling on people being depressed. It’s a bit more sleazy than that.”
“Eleanor Rigor Mortis” “If there’s anything that we dusted off from the old days for this album, it’s this song title. We joked about using it way back on the first album. It falls into this Kinks/Beatles quintessential Englishness that we’ve always incorporated into Carcass. That was the vibe I was going for. I’m sure [Carcass guitarist] Bill [Steer] cringes over the fact that I bothered to use it.”
“Under the Scalpel Blade” “We’ve managed to release this song three times now. With every album, you have a song that kind of becomes a single. So, we released this at the end of 2019 as a flexi single with Decibel when the album was supposed to be out in 2020. But then, of course, that didn’t happen. When we decided to do the EP, we had three songs that are not on the album, so we brought out one album track as well. And, of course, the song has to be on the album itself.”
“The Devil Rides Out” “This is a movie title I’ve always loved, but the song has nothing to do with that. There’s always been anti-religious songs, but this is an anti-Satanic song. Satanism is just as fucking stupid as Christianity or every other ‘ism,’ you know? I really fancied the idea of doing a song that could be picked up by Christians and then they run to town thinking it’s a pro-Christian song. I love the idea of the label servicing some Christian radio stations with this track, but it never happened.”
“Kelly’s Meat Emporium” “This was a real shop in Liverpool, but it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s somewhere I’d pass occasionally, and I just thought it was quaint because one minute it was open and then for years it was kind of derelict. To me, it was just a sign of the times. But the title is totally disconnected from the lyrics. It’s like ‘The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue’ from the EP: It’s not like I watched the movie and wrote a song about it. I just liked the title. Like ‘Eleanor Rigor Mortis,’ it feels quintessentially British.”