“For some bands, their strength is settling on a winning formula and continuing in that vein but we are one of those groups that goes the other way, preferring every album to be different.” – Bill Steer
When people ask who my favourite metal band of all time is, I don’t have to think about it because the answer is simply, Carcass!
For over three decades, Carcass have with ease and without question written the rule book on how to craft and deliver extreme music. But, there was a hiatus of seventeen years between Carcass’ Swansong being released in 1995 to 2013’s release of the masterpiece Surgical Steel.
Lifelong fans such as myself were gutted at the disappearance of one of the greatest extreme bands of all time. Rarely has a band throughout that entire period even come close to being as good or genre-defining as Carcass. They were without peer and proof of that was made with their triumphant 2013 return album Surgical Steel.
Bill Steer was kind enough to gift HEAVY Magazine his insight and thoughts on getting back together with vocalist Jeff Walker, guitarist Mike Amott and Daniel Erlandsson (guitars/drums, Arch Enemy) to do a few tours and begin the writing process.
“Well, we’d had that reunion phase with the band and it was clear from the outset that those guys (Amott and Erlandsson) weren’t interested in making new music. It was just playing festivals and doing the odd tour for a short period,” Bill says.
“When that came to an end was the fork in the road really for Jeff and myself, and it was really simple – if we want to keep doing something with the band and have some self-respect, we need to start making some new stuff. That is always what I really wanted to do, it just felt like it wasn’t possible.
“As soon as the subject was broached it got shut down, then all of a sudden the way was cleared for us to do that and then [Jeff and I] were both really into the idea and then the ideas started flowing quickly. It was a lot of fun, plus we didn’t have added outside pressure of interference because nobody was aware of what were doing.”
The creative motivation behind what Carcass have done has allowed their songwriting process to be ever-evolving, giving its members the ability to be pioneers of their form, helping to evolve gore and grind styles into what we know today as melodic death metal. Every Carcass album written was a new chapter in extreme music creation.
Steer reflects on Carcass’ early formidable years as groundbreaking extreme metal pioneers and why ALL of their albums have been noticeably different.
“That’s very true. For some bands it’s the exact opposite,” he says.
“Their strength is settling on a winning formula and continuing in that vein but we are one of those groups that go the other way, preferring every album to be different.” “What got us started was a love of underground music. We were all involved in the tape trading scene; Jeff was from the punk side of things and Ken Owen (Carcass founding member and drummer) and I were more the metal side. [Extreme music] was a minority interest.
Asked what has been the most challenging aspect in Carcass’ career, Bill snickers.
“I can only talk in relative terms,” he says
“Being in a band at the level we are at, whatever rung of the ladder in the music business we’re on… to some degree, we’re kind of pampered so it would be a bit weird to describe anything as a hardship.
“In the earlier days, it was tougher starting out playing gigs in Liverpool, usually with hardcore bands because there wasn’t really a death metal scene to speak of in the UK so that was the best we could do.”
To round out the brief backstory of Carcass and being extreme metal pioneers, Bill matter of factly says, “I wouldn’t say we were accepted in that scene but we were tolerated.”
Without prompting, Bill discusses the beginning of the end of Carcass’ first demise, “Towards the end of the first incarnation of the band it was kind of obvious it was ending and one of the earliest signs for us was when we went to tour the US, as we had done numerous times; we could tell that there was less interest in the band than there had been previously.
“So that last year or so of the band breaking up was kind of depressing because you could feel it was on the way out. Bear in mind, back then the band was a lot smaller and less significant and we didn’t have the luxury of being a vintage band. In those days this was still new music and Carcass were still a new thing.
“Albums like our third and fourth [Necroticism (1991) and Heartwork (1993)] that have a following now and regarded as influential were looked upon sceptically by a lot of people because they wanted us to stay in the same bag as our second album Symphonies Of Sickness (1989).”
To find out more on Carcass’ career, upcoming Australian tour and the HEAVY Magazine exclusive leak of the brand new Carcass album title, listen to the podcast.
CARCASS TOUR DATES AUSTRALIA
Melbourne, Friday, March 20, Showgrounds
Sydney, Saturday, March 21, Parramatta Park
Carcass Download 2020 Sideshows
Tuesday, 24th March – Altar, Hobart
Wednesday, 25th March – The Triffid, Brisbane
Thursday, 26th March – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
Saturday, 28th March – Slayfest, Perth
TICKETS – https://www.swdpresents.com/post/carcass