Carcass – Quite Fit For Human Consumption Part I

Sunday, 1st September 2013

Poised to do what Worship Music did for Anthrax in 2011, Carcass’s Surgical Steel comeback is exactly what the (deranged) doctor ordered. To see it come to fruition after years of dismissal and false rumors is one thing, to have it be this good, visceral, melodic, immediate, and satisfying is another ball-o-wax altogether. For many, it remedies 17 years away from the scene, overshadowing the flop that was Swansong and the ensuing post-Carcass Blackstar, which we had the gall ask Jeff Walker about. But even without the baggage, a lot of these songs (“Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System,” “The Master Butcher’s Apron” and “Dark Granulating Satanic Mills”) rank among the best Carcass has ever put together.

Walker – joined by co-founding member/guitarist Bill Steer, new guitarist Ben Ash, and new drummer Dan Wilding – already have a string of sold-out North American dates on the horizon, as well as the Nuclear Blast promotional machine behind them, thus ensuring we’ll be seeing a lot of their not-so-handsome British mugs for quite some time. It helps that Walker is as sarcastic as DR, making our half-hour conversation one of the most fun we’ve engaged in. It was so much fun that we had to split it into two parts. Here’s the first:

Dead Rhetoric: Now that you’re back doing Carcass, do you have a different perspective on your time in Blackstar?

Jeff Walker: It’s really cool you mention it…that crappy little project [laughs]. Do I look back at it differently? No. It is what it was – it was the death throes of a dying career. It was a fun little project; I had some riffs left in me and Griff [Mark Griffiths], he’s always been one of my best friends, so it was nice to do an album with that guy. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously – we knew it wasn’t going to be a long-term thing. Ken’s [Owen] health suddenly put a stop to it anyway. It was obviously never going to go anywhere – it was just fun to be playing with Ken, Griff, and Carlo [Regadas].

Dead Rhetoric: You answered my follow-up question: What if Blackstar took off?

Walker: It was never going to happen [laughs]. C’mon!

Dead Rhetoric: I happen to like it!

Walker: It was a good album for what it was, but it was out of step in the same way that Swansong was out of step. We weren’t trying to compete with ourselves. After Heartwork, we weren’t trying to compete with the supposed Gothenburg sound – we turned our back on Carcass in a way. We were arrogant in thinking we could do whatever we wanted, and obviously, the world decided to tell us we couldn’t, and forced us to make a new album after 17 years, to make amends.

Dead Rhetoric: Moving over to Carcass, you sold-out the short run of dates you have coming up in America. Did that surprise you?

Walker: It’s not a proper tour. It’s us paying lip service to the folks at Nuclear Blast in America because they want us to do a tour [laughs]. The reality is we need to do something at the time, and it’s the week of the release, so we’re trying to create a bit of a buzz and a vibe; do all small club shows. We’ll come back next April and do a proper tour. I don’t know if you’re aware, but we did three shows in London at a club called the Underworld which holds 500 people. We easily could have played for 1,500 people, but I thought it would be a cool idea to play a small club, like The Clash on Broadway. We’re out trying to stop traffic [laughs]. This is what we wanted to do in the States, but we don’t have the same window of opportunity. All of these clubs are booked anyway, like the Troubadour in LA, but we were able to get a Sunday night. Ideally, we wanted to do a week at the Troubadour. It’s about doing something cool instead of the House of Blues again. We could do that, but when we come back in six months time with the real tour, there’s nowhere to play. We’re going to keep it interesting.

Dead Rhetoric: The shows sold-out prior to the record coming out. People have only heard “Captive Bolt Pistol” and “Unfit for Human Consumption.” Does that give you a good feeling?

Walker: Put it this way, David – if we hadn’t, I’d throw in the towel [laughs]. These aren’t really big venues. With LA, I’m quite familiar with that town from going to shows and seeing the quite jaded attitude of the audience, it was never guaranteed we could sell-out two nights at the Troubadour, in all honestly. It’s great. We are trying to create a bit of a hype before the album comes out, and I know there’s people that are going to be disappointed they couldn’t get a ticket, but we will serve their interest when we come back and do a proper tour, and the talk of the moment is coming back with Black Dahlia Murder and making it a big tour.

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