CARCASS (1985–95, 2007–PRESENT). Sanjiv (vocals, replaced by Bill Steer, Jeffrey Walker, Bill Steer), Michael Amott (guitar), Jeff Walker (bass), Ken Owen (drums, replaced by Daniel Erlandsson).
Carcass were one of the earliest and most important of the new generation of grindcore/death metal bands. The band was started by Steer, Owen, and Walker in 1984 and was quickly hailed for the brutal power of their live shows and the uncompromising power of their first record, the classic Reek of Putrefaction. Influential British DJ and taste maker John Peel was an early fan, who featured some of their work on his radio show on BBC One. When anxious listeners called in to complain, an undeterred Peel continued to champion the band, featuring them on one of his Peel Sessions shows, which was later released as a live EP. The band couldn’t carry on long, due to the fact that one could only get so fast and extreme without becoming a parody of oneself.
The band broke up seemingly for good in 1995. (All the band members had gone to other projects—the most successful was Amott who joined the Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy), but in 2007, the band surprised many in the death metal community by reuniting with almost all the original members (drummer Ken Owen, who had been a crucial part of the band’s sound since its inception, was too ill to take part).
The band are touring to this day and re-releasing their old material on Earache Records. It seems that a new generation raised on emo bands and the national retail store chain Hot Topic may be ready to embrace a more extreme and brutal form of music than they were force-fed by the radio and MTV.
Discography: Reek of Putrefaction (UK Earache, 1988); Symphonies of Sickness (UK Earache, 1989, Earache/Relativity, 1990); The Peel Sessions [EP] (UK Strange Fruit, 1989).