Hall of Fame Countdown: Carcass’s “Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious”

The third album from grind/death legends Carcass was a massively important record in the history of extreme metal. Like a bunch of their other records, it’s ended up in our Hall of Fame, and it’s there for good reason: 1991’s Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious is an incredible transition record for the band, one that finds them embracing their gore-grind roots but diving decapitated-head-first into melodic death metal, the addition of guitarist Michael Amott helping to take Carcass to the next level as far as songwriting and musicianship is concerned.

But with this album, Carcass took everything to the next level; they took extreme metal to the next level. Wikipedia says “Many of the tracks describe economical ways to dispose of dead bodies”; we say that’s a pretty amazing summary, and today we look at the songs from worst to best as we analyze further this most classic of grinding, gore-infused death metal.

8. Carneous Cacoffiny

This one has the unfortunate job of following up the massive “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” but damned if “Carneous Cacoffiny” doesn’t do a great job. Here, Carcass slow things down and deliver a syrupy sweet riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on the first Cathedral record, but deliver it with more sewage-soaked grime, of course. The band utilize all 6:44 of this massive song to explore both mid and faster tempos; this one is filed next to “Pedigree Butchery” in my mind as far as the songs here that aren’t quite as mind-melting as the others but still contain tons of good riffs. Indeed, this song in particular has some classic melodic death guitar work happening once you dig in.

7. Pedigree Butchery

The riffs are huge here, and I appreciate the song’s mid tempo allowing for a bit of mid-album breathing room, but considering that this is an album basically chock full of classics, this one slides down a bit lower, because the other songs are all, like, 11 out of 10. This one’s got riffs for miles and that quick one-second kinda-acoustic part that should not have worked but totally does; it edges above “Carneous Cacoffiny” for that quick part alone just because it’s so darn likeable.

6. Symposium of Sickness

Sort of like a title track to their previous album, “Symposium of Sickness” kicks off with one of many genuinely unsettling samples featured on this album before laying down a drop-dead classic Carcass riff then, what the hell, tossing off a few more drop-dead classic Carcass riffs just for kicks. Does it need to be seven minutes long? Sure, it might wear out its welcome a bit, but when the riffs are of this quality, who’s complaining?

5. Forensic Clinicism/The Sanguine Article

This long song always throws me off: I always think, “Which song is that again?” when looking at the track listing, but then when it’s playing, I realize it’s got a handful of riffs that are actually some of my favorite from this album, riffs that I always forget about until this song’s playing, which makes this the surprise sleeper hit of the album every single time. This is actually a fantastic track, with a sick vocal delivery (literally: it sounds like disease) that complements the downtrodden sludging death perfectly; it’s a perfect closer to what, as the years go on, I get more and more tempted to say is the best extreme metal album ever created.

4. Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition

Another totally classic riff opens up this one, which definitely nestles up next to “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” and “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” as one of the songs that defines Necroticism, even if it’s placed down as song seven of eight. But that’s part of the reason why this album made it into the Hall of Fame: every song’s a glorious and gory work of extreme perfection, even these deep cuts being extreme metal smash hits. “Lavaging Expectorate of Lysergide Composition” has a main riff for the ages, great dynamics, and a perfect mid-tempo Carcass crunch und grind to it.

3. Corporal Jigsore Quandary

Win-win here, with that amazing song title, truly creepy sample, and classic double-bass intro. Then the rhythm riff kicks in… then the lead guitar kicks in, and, man, the album could end after this song and it would still be legendary. But then one of the most memorable Carcass vocal lines of all memorable Carcass vocal lines shows up, and it’s just pure extreme metal perfection.

2. Incarnated Solvent Abuse

Here we go, this song featuring no less than three classic riffs in its first minute alone, “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” being a good choice for the MTV video hit single off this album (and, all joking aside, that video did get played a not-half-bad amount, at least up here for Decibel’s northern HQ freakies in Canada). This song is absurdly good, the band just racing from one catchy, memorable riff to the next, things clicking here to an almost humorous degree. I mean, this is a band at the height of their powers; I listen to it all these years later and this song still floors me, every single time.

1. Inpropagation

Oh, man, do I ever love that intro, Carcass absolutely setting the mood here with that slow burn creepfest that leads into this most legendary of opening tracks. I love this song so much because it was really a new era of Carcass starting right out of the gates, “Inpropagation” taking what Symphonies of Sickness hinted at—more atmosphere and breathing room, larger and catchier song structures—and absolutely running with it, the band announcing loud and clear here that something new was happening, “Inpropagation” grinding to the finish line with glorious guitar solos and a fantastic vocal performance leading the way.

Don’t forget: Carcass headline Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles on December 13-14, 2019—also featuring performances from PossessedNailsVio-lenceGatecreeperSchammasch, Xibalba and more! Tickets are still available, but going fast! “Metal & Beer” ticket options (which entitle you to pours from all the breweries throughout the weekend) are down to last 200 tickets, so get your Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles single-day and weekend passes before it’s too late.