But enough about my life, of course. What's the big news? Well, in a few days I am off to Dubai for an education conference (hard knocks life, for sure), but, more importantly, after 17 years the new Carcass album is out.
It's called Surgical Steel.
There has been much rejoicing and giggly head banging here at the Rage Cage.
I cannot express how much my first meeting with the musical stylings of the "other lads from Liverpool" changed the course of my musical direction. Their initial mix of crazy grindcore mixed with death metal, dueling vocalists, and weird ass guitar solos drew me in, and with song titles like "Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition" what's not to love?
Little known Lippart fact, for all the Polish groupies out there: the first cd I ever purchased was their third album, awesomely titled Necroticism- Descanting the Insalubrious. Here is a taste. Enjoy!
Okay, for all of you that are still here- I loved that record. Still do. Then they took a turn that changed my life again- they became much more melodic, with delicious twin lead guitars, simplified song structures, great grooves, and slightly more normal lyrics. When I first encountered their fourth album, Heartwork, I was blown away. I hadn't heard anything like it at the time. I can still picture that day: sitting in Marine Park rocking my Walkman (remember those?) and playing it, over and over again. To this day those first few seconds of the title track get my blood pumping. I also have a vivid memory of staying up late on a Saturday night to catch their debut video on MTV (remember that?) It's still as good as ever:
How do you top that? I wouldn't know, sweet, patient, hopefully leather clad readers, because I've never topped anything, but they switched gears, AGAIN, when their (until now) last album came out. Swansong was a revelation to me. Between this and Wolverine Blues (Entombed was kick ass), these guys were doing exactly what I was trying to do with various people but wasn't good enough to pull off: they were taking the emotional rawness, the sheer brutal energy, of death metal, and slotting it right on top of a foundation of basic, timeless rock and roll. In the process they wrote a song (Keep on Rotting in the Free World) that, to this day, is an easy top ten of all time for me, right above Father and Son (Cat Stevens was also kick ass!)
Don't believe me? I challenge anyone to listen to this track and not immediately want to go out and buy a drum set, leather pants, hair extensions, and a mirrored codpiece with knobbly bits on it.
It felt like validation to me, because I had been wanting to do something like it for a few years at that point, but also a wake up call, because it showed me how far I still had to go.
And that was it, for 17 years. That album came out when I was 19. It was done before I moved to Santa Fe and went to college, before teaching, before traveling the world, and before having all those crazy adventures that draw like seven or eight people to read this column every other month or so.
Every once in a while I would try to get a musical project off the ground, usually involving chunky rock riffs with an aggressive growly voice, but it never went anywhere. The closest I managed to come, after lots of attempts at getting groups together and coming up with imaginary groupie nicknames and band logos, was the recordings I did in Myanmar (oh God cheap plug!). Check out a sample here:
I pale shadow, I admit. And now, they've done it again. 17 years, about 4 years longer than any of my current charges have been walking upon this pale blue dot (Sagan sneak attack!) and they are back, with an album that again just blows my mind.
With bits from all of their albums mashed together, it's like they have come full circle, from grind to death to metal to rock and back again. I can totally empathize because after switching my career this past year, I have been spending emo-riffic amount of time thinking of my own strange journey to get where I am. I am sincerely glad they have had this chance to step back and revisit the past again. To have a chance to examine where you came from with unsullied eyes is a rare one, and not to be missed. I can tell from the opening track that these guys have thought long and hard about where they came from, where they are, and where they are going.
And where would that be, you ask? Well, ladies and gentleman, I leave you with a brand new Carcass song, the first in 17 long, wonderful, crazy, beautiful, chaps filled years. Here it is, a new track off of the brand new album: Noncompliance to ASTFM F899-12 Standard (goddamn I missed you guys).