Editors note: Tyranny of Tradition is honored to be visited by guest writer and world-renowned grindcore expert Dr. Shawn “Von Deathmetal” Jobe. Shawn received his doctorate from the prestigious Millard Fillmore School of Grindcore Studies at Yale University. Dr. Von Deathmetal has just emerged from seven years on a mountaintop in Tibet continuously listening to Brutal Truth’s Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses in the hopes of gaining spiritual enlightenment. Dr. Von Deathmetal has also been on the forefront of the medical movement to use grindcore to help reduce migraines and plantar warts. He is a Pisces whose hobbies include juggling squirrels and playing canasta.
Reek Of Putrefaction,the 1988 release from Carcass, is easily one of the most misunderstood albums ever recorded. Before Carcass became actual musicians and wrote some of the greatest riffs in the history of metal, they created their first album. Bill Steer, getting a fresh start after his tenure in Napalm Death joined short-lived vocalist Sanjiv and Ken Owen. Jeff Walker eventually took over on bass & vocals.
Trying to one-up his former noisemongers (one can only assume), Steer & co. entered a quaint studio fit for wealthy canines of the feminine sort in December of 1987 with 83 guitars, 12 bass guitars, a drum kit, 2 tornadoes, and 7 or 8 car crashes, depending on who you ask. The end result? The Reek Of Putrefaction. On the surface, it is cacophony of the highest measure, with all the melody of a combat tank rolling through landmine infested terrain. However, once you’ve stripped it down and have peeled back all of the layers, you soon discover that it was England’s answer to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” album.
Oxidized Razor Masticator
Chomping and splicing, your gums sliced to shreds
Tattered bloody ribbons, incisored skin is shred
Scraping on sore teeth, cracking and chipping
Shredding and mincing raw nerve endings
Salivating – sanguis, phlegm, froth and foam
Masticating – your mandible stripped to the bone
Mangling your tongue, bloody torn and dripping
The swollen savage muscle frayed and blistering
Your vocal chords severed, your lips are mutilated
Masticating carved palate as your mouth is grated
Only raw gargles croak from your throat
A trickling death-rasp as you choke
A silly grin carved from ear to ear
Spurting mucus and tongue as your wind-pipe tears
Gaping and sore
The rusty razors bore
Skin hangs and seeps
Peptic ulcers bleed
Your mouth is a sea of cartilage, rabid saliva bleeds
Swallowing shredded tongue and pulverized, crunching teeth
Respirating a bolus of rusty razor blades
“Oxidized Razor Masticator”, unlike the album’s more eloquent tracks, lacks philosophical ambiguity. It was simply Carcass taking a few moments to set things straight. Rumors began to circulate that Carcass members were vegetarians. This was not due, however, to their love of vegetables, but rather their willingness to ingest anything that was not beef, pork, etc.
This hideous buffet included oxidized razors. Nowhere can you find the use of this method more upfront than the blood-gargling vocals in the second verse here. Clearly practitioners of what they preached, Carcass were said to have owned stock in the Gillette Corporation, and later on, the Mach series of blades were inspired by the fast pace of the band’s music.
The song starts off with a veritable ‘how-to’ take on grindcore vocalizing with the Step One of “Chomping and splicing, your gums sliced to shreds.” From that point on, they lay out the instructional manual for every goregrind band that would enter the scene for the next 20+ years. From General Surgery to County Medical Examiners. From (early) Exhumed to Lymphatic Phlegm. The entire subgenre owes their vocal assault to the clearly printed lyrics to this song. “Your mouth is a sea of cartilage, rabid saliva bleeds – Swallowing shredded tongue and pulverized, crunching teeth.” Indeed, lads. Indeed.