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.
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.