General Surgery – Lay Down And Be Counted Review

Like so many of us, the five Swedes in General Surgery spent the past year or so in lockdown. So they did what we all should have done with our unexpected spare time: They wrote and recorded a goregrind EP. Now that productivity in forced seclusion has paid off for them — and for the rest of us — in the form of Lay Down And Be Counted.

Release date: June 11, 2021. Label: Self-released.
If you’ve kept up with General Surgery through their thirty years of sporadic activity, you know what to expect here, from a sonic and stylistic perspective. Generally speaking, General Surgery plys a death/grind trade, a hybridized amalgam that sounds like circa-Symphonies Carcass dashed with Swedish death metal, all razor-sharp buzzsaw riff atop hyperactive thrashing and blasting. They managed only one EP during their first run, albeit a strong one in 1991’s Necrology, but after their reformation around the turn of the millennium, they spit forth a steady stream of splits and two solid full-length slabs of bloodsoaked carnage for a decade or so, before lying mostly dormant since 2012, save for their half of 2017’s split with Bodybag.

Like the (dis)members of Carcass themselves, guitarist and mainstay (and only remaining founder) Joacim Carlsson has a flair for catchy songwriting, a knack for an earworm riff or a hooky phrase that puts fists in the air and has even the most resistant among us screaming along with Erik Sahlstrom’s guttural refrain of “necrogooooore.” On paper, tracks like the one-minute grindfest “(In The Realm Of The) Thorax Embalmer” or the more ambitious midtempo drive of “Liquefactive Decay Of Remnant Lung Tissue” certainly shouldn’t be as infectious as they are, but damned if they don’t burrow themselves right into your brain like good little parasites. And therein lies the preeminent strength of Lay Down And Be Counted: While there’s nothing particularly original about General Surgery’s sound and style (nor do they claim that there is, nor have they ever claimed that there was), there’s definitely something incredibly enjoyable about it. It’s familiar, and it’s far more comforting than it is contemptible. From the opening voiceover montage and doomy intro motif of “Effusive Opulent Decampment / Lay Down And Be Counted” through the maniacal “At Cut-Throat Speed” to the closing “Sentenced To The Slab / Organ Failure,” Lay Down And Be Counted is offal-splattered death/grind done with professional precision, a nod to the gods of gore that clearly inspired it but then also a continuation of the work, a furthering of the cause, and for those of us with the taste for blood, it’s damned near irresistible.

At present, Lay Down And Be Counted is a digital-only release, with hopefully a physical follow-up to come (keep your severed fingers crossed!). So pull up your favorite streaming service, or better yet, click on that link above to float on over to the band’s Bandcamp and get yourself bloodied.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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