General Surgery is another one of those bands that bring to mind the term “Carcass-worship.” For this, their second full-length in nearly two decades of existence, this bunch of blood-splattered Swedish malcontents offer up Corpus In Extremis — Analysing Necroticism, yet another nod to that legendary bunch of medical-minded Liverpudlians, a Carcass homage in concept and even in title. (Oddly and completely coincidentally, it’s also the second Carcass-referencing title I’ve reviewed this month.) Their belated first full-length, Left Hand Pathology, was an obvious reference to Entombed, and somewhere in those two influences lies their sound here, a combination of Swedish death metal and mid-period Carcass death/grind. Left Hand still sees some repeat spins on my iTunes from time to time, and considering that Corpus is business-as-usual for this particular trauma unit, I’m sure that this one, too, will garner some play-time, although in truth, I find it a slightly paler version of the previous effort.
New vocalist Erik Sahlstrom seamlessly replaces the departed Grant McWilliams, the latter dismissed for his reported inability to control his alcohol intake. Where this one differs from Left Hand’s path is in a teensy bit more willingness to flaunt their Swedish roots. So it would appear the titles are reversed somewhat—Corpus is a hair closer to Entombed / Dismember than Left Hand, which was in turn the same hair closer to Carcass. Where Left Hand succeeded more often was in memorable songwriting, as Corpus is solid, but yet still flies by without too many moments of savage brilliance.
In truth, that difference is a subtle one—it’s not as if General Surgery has taken a sudden left (hand) turn and ended up somewhere they weren’t already half-headed to begin with. Even with an increased emphasis on caveman death metal, were I not as familiar with Left Hand Pathology as I am, I’d be hard pressed to tell you where, when played side-by-side, one record ended and the next began. Make of that what you will—deviation from the standard set by Symphonies Of Sickness is not what one expects from General Surgery. In fact, what one expects is exactly the opposite, simply variations upon the theme set forth two decades ago by some Brits and some Swedes. To borrow from our own review of the previous General Surgery record, if you’re in the market for an updated symphony of sickness, then here’s yet another one, expertly re-hashed and entertaining, if not essential.