Carcass: From The Trenches to the Summit

"There Was No Shortage of Ideas for Surgical Steel"

In terms of come-backs (as lame as that term is) Liverpool natives and pioneers of extreme metal, Carcass, hands down, take out the gold star. From their unassuming beginnings as one of the 90’s most underground grind bands to having the world at their feet as of 2013 and the release of their first album since 1996; Surgical Steel. Metal As Fuck talked albums with the one and only Bill Steer recently and the mammoth success of Surgical Steel that even had Bill in complete shock...  

Surgical Steel; the world is still gripped by this album and recording it was quite the process as the band began deliberating in 2008 and the final product was not released until 2012 – so can you pave a timeline for us as to how it all came about? “Yeah, well as you mentioned the band was reunited in some way around 2008 but at that stage we couldn’t really entertain the idea of doing a new album because of the line-up. At that stage we had Michael Amott [Arch Enemy] and Daniel Erlandsson [Arch Enemy] playing with us, however their priority at the time was with the band Arch Enemy so they both made it very clear that the last thing they wanted was to get involved and make a new Carcass record, it would have made life too complicated for them. So it was unfortunate for Jeff (Walker, Carcass bassist/frontman) and myself, but we had to accept it. A couple of years down the line, around 2010 when they (Michael & Daniel) stepped out of the band, that certainly gave us the option to pursue making new music for the first time since 1996 and that’s what we wanted to do. That’s really where it all began. Obviously I had a load of ideas, dating back years but in terms of actually getting our heads together and working on the material, it didn’t start until.... Off the top of my head, early 2011. It was very positive, there was no shortage of ideas, it was a case of having to stop at a certain point because we had enough, I think we got to song number fifteen in the writing sessions and we figured, well we have enough here for an album and a half here so we’ll pick our favourite and maybe do an EP further down the line and that’s what happened”.

When the initial reformation came about, Carcass were greeted with one hell of a welcome back – with appearances at some of the most esteemed festivals and supports with many of the metal elite. Did you expect such a big response? “I didn’t know what to expect personally but I think the other guys were a bit more clued in; obviously, because they had been out there in that world, whether it was with Arch Enemy or Brujeria they kind of understood the climate a lot more than I did. And yeah it was a complete mind blow because you have to remember there were no extreme metal festivals of that nature back in the old days of the band so it was a new exciting thing for me to get out and play to an audience of tens of thousands of people, it was scary initially, then it just became the setting for Carcass and we just got on with it”.

In terms of the album, I mean, the reaction from fans and critics and even non-believers; you know, the whole global metal community just rallied around this album in complete awe, was that something that was also not expected? “Definitely not expected, I don’t think any of us are the kind of people to have high expectations going into anything really, you have to be clear on what you think personally and I felt that we had made a very valid record but my gut feeling was that the really hardcore Carcass people were going to lap it up and I felt as if the mainstream metal opinion just wouldn’t even be interested, wouldn’t give the album a chance. Luckily I was wrong [Laughs] it was given a hell of a lot of attention and most of that was very favourable so we got pretty lucky with Surgical Steel. I think nearly every single magazine I read and know about included Surgical Steel in their top 10 for 2013 “Well that’s pretty good” [Laughs]

How was it (and is it) touring Carcass again, you guys have pretty much been nonstop touring Surgical Steel came out? “It’s been fantastic, I would say we had at least a fourteen month period where we were out constantly. There wasn’t much time at home let’s put it that way. Once the ball got rolling there was just an enormous momentum and so many people approaching us about booking shows, so it became a very busy time and we thoroughly enjoyed it there’s no question about it. Just recently it’s been kind of quiet, which is been good because I’ve been able to get together with Dan [Wilding – Drums] and jam through some new tunes. So far this year we have played just one show so far and that was in Mumbai, India and then we’re off to Greece in April”.

Well you are soon on Australian shores with long time pals Napalm Death so what are your anticipations for the tour? “Woah, massively looking forward to it, I think because it’s just a very unexpected surprise to be going back so soon and the whole Napalm connection just makes it that bit more special and also I suppose the other thing for us lot is that we really enjoy supporting, so the fact that Napalm is closing each night, makes it that much more fun for us, because it’s a case of picking your set very carefully, making the most impact you can in the time you have been given, so yeah I mean, not just as a musician but as a visitor I am excited for going back anyway”. What’s next for Carcass? Touring; maybe another album? I mean why not, the world is at your feet... “In the immediate future its of course this trip to Australia and New Zealand and that bleeds into another trip around Asia doing some gigs out there, by the time we get back its pretty much the beginning of the festival season in the UK and Europe so what I’m hoping is that besides all the festivals we’ve been booked to do this year we’ll get some time in between to work on some new tunes. Not rush into anything but just get it all moving, that’s personally what my goal will be this year is to definitely get a new album underway”.