Last year, Liverpool’s Carcass returned from a 17 year hiatus with one of the band’s best albums of their entire catalog in Surgical Steel. Before the album was record, bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker said in interviews that they wouldn’t record a single note and call it Carcass if it didn’t capture that Carcass feeling. While initial doubt was there, Walker and Bill Steer did exactly what they set out to do and wrote an album that sounded like something that should have come out between the bands two best records in Necroticism and Heartwork. An artfully crafted blend of melodic wizardry and grinding lunacy, Surgical Steel was the record you had only dreamed about for the better part of the last two decades.

It’s not uncommon for bands to record more material in a session than what appears on an album. International versions commonly have an extra track or two and there is always collectors editions and/or an album of B-sides that shows up later in a bands career. I think I heard that Metallica had recorded something in the realm of 27 songs when they were in the studio for Death Magnetic. So when I heard that Carcass was releasing an EP of supplemental material for the last album, I wasn’t the least bit shocked. I mean, if the band is proud of the songs, why wouldn’t they want to release them for the world to hear? However, there is normally a reason why certain songs don’t make the cut on the album. Whether it is that they didn’t fit the flow of the record or they are just outright subpar songs, you are usually left saying “Ah. I see why they didn’t include these.” And that is where we are with Carcass’ follow-up to Surgical Steel in the Surgical Remission - A Surplus Steel.

To put it bluntly, this EP is simply boring. The album starts off with the best song of the bunch in A Wraith In The Apparatus, which sounds like it could have made the cut on the album, possibly in the middle, and serve as the break the listener needed from the albums relentless assault but ultimately I’m glad they never did that. The only way to describe it was if you took any of the songs on Surgical Steel and slowed it down. It has some aggression but it lacks any of the blistering madness that is featured on the full length. It’s also the only song that Walker sounds just as pissed as he does on the LP. As for the rest of the material it starts fall into the void of material that could have come out between Heartwork and Swansong, leaning more towards the latter. Intensive Battery Brooding, Zochrot, and Livestock Marketplace all sound like awesome song titles but they fail to live up to that expectation. Most of the songs, while ultra-melodic, fall immensely flat and really gives the impression that the band was burnt out during the time they wrote these songs. They not only sound like they never go anywhere, they really never get going in the first place. The entire time I listened to these tracks I was waiting for something to happen to save each song and it never did. It just plodded along and eventually ended, much like every song on Swansong did with the exception of that Keep On Rotting In The Free World track.

I mean, they said they wouldn’t record a note unless it sounded like Carcass, and I’ll give them credit that even on this EP of stuff cut from the full length, the songs sound like Carcass. Unfortunately it’s not the Carcass you wanted to remember. Honestly this is the stuff that I expected when I heard they were first recording. I’m glad this is to serve as a way to give the fans everything from the session, because who knows if we’ll ever get another Carcass record, but some stones are really better left unturned. I’m typically a completest when it comes to bands I really like but I can safely say that this EP is avoidable. You really shouldn’t lose any sleep over the fact that you haven’t heard 4 incredibly mediocre new Carcass songs. Buy the full length, but not this.