GENERAL SURGERY (Swe): “Left Hand Pathology” Cd 2006 Listenable

Okay, let’s start by taking a deep breath. An album like this is a monumental effort and it deserves strong reactions. First off, the idea for the cover artwork is cool: it is a drawing of a set of surgical instruments from the middle ages in the vein of Necrony and Haemorrhage demos, on a worn paper effect which is effective is fot hugely original. However the font chosen for the title is definitely not the best on earth (but I’ll let it go since it seems the same one used for Necrony’s debut) but, well, that jelly effect on the logo is really bad, especially when so close to a lineart drawing like the one of the tools below. Whatever. Another thing I hated a LOT is that this record oozes tongue-in-cheek humour since the very title (think about Entombed‘s debut album) and more of  it you get from the song titles (haven’t read the lyrics, they’re not present on the cardboard promos grrrr), a song name like  “Ambulance Chaser” sounds more Birdflesh to me than gore, and I’d sriously like to say two words to whomever invented a SHIT title like “The League of Extraordinary Grave Robbers”. For sure there was a lot of  nasty humour in early Carcass as well (“Festerday”, “Rotten to the Gore”, “Malignant Defecation” etc), but this just sounds too cheap to me, I am just a bit bored of bands making fun of splatter, some bands should definitely learn from the Brazilian scene).

However, when we talk about music, this record shredded the fuck out of my brain, this powerhouse has the same bulldozing energy of “A Chapter of Accidents” plus “Gore Metal” plus a lot of extra crusty groove-steeled energy. Really “the festering stench of rotting flesh makes me drool as I consume… ” this album!!! Some faint rock’n’roll swing a la “Necroticism” drops in here and there, but generally speaking, making excessive referencing to Carcass would be unfair. For sure early Carcass songs were the matrix from which this band was spawned in the beginning, but considering how the Carcass songs were structured (and when I talk about Carcass I just consider the recordings up to “Necroticism” and this last one with a snort and a spit and a swear, fuck off mr Amott for destroying a cult band), there is not really much of them except for the sound, lyrical themes and the sick vocal approach. Musically I’d say this General Surgery 2.0 is more oriented towards Swedish grind/crustcore: if we strip the songs to the very core, I bet if you change vocals and guitar distortion you’d get something interesting. Whatever the backbone is however, this new stuff has a frighteningly high energy level, full of thrashing guitar riffs, perfect drum arrangements, and a very mature production that places all of the instruments evenly without sounding artificial at all. This is an album that MUST be bought, because things here are really superior compared to the mumble-jumble of second generation clones! The vocals are manipulated in some heavy way but you can tell the original timbre is deep and powerful so the resulting effect is twice as good. There are a lot of sick tempo structures and guitar interconnections here that give the whole album a complex but studied sound, but it’s great to hear that the accent weights on the fistbanging, mayhemic, old school RIFF!. If there is only one thing I miss on this album which might have made me happy, is the lack of explicit gore and the overabundance of fun, this is luckily not fucking Ghoul, but there is just too much light hearted enjoyment going on for my tastes. I just wish I had seen some viscera on the cover, that would have been original, for once… bah!