Reek of Putrefaction is the debut album by British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released by Earache Records in July 1988.

Reek of Putrefaction
Studio album by
Released28 July 1988 (1988-07-28)
RecordedDecember 1987–March 1988
StudioRich Bitch Studios
LabelEarache, Combat (US)
ProducerCarcass, Paul Talbot
Carcass chronology
Reek of Putrefaction
Symphonies of Sickness
Alternative cover
"Clean" 2002 re-issue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores



When released, Reek of Putrefaction reached No. 6 on the UK Indie Chart, establishing Carcass as one of the pioneers of the grindcore genre.[2] The late BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel declared it his favourite album of 1988, in an interview for British newspaper The Observer.[3]

Guitarist/vocalist Bill Steer retrospectively said that "The first album wasn’t very focused, it was just about being fast and heavy…".

He went on to say that the band did not intend the muddy sound present throughout the album: "The first one obviously is a crazy accident. It’s got a small following but we did not intend to make that record the thing that people hear now. We had different ideas and we just couldn’t execute them. We were too young, too naïve, and inexperienced. From 'Symphonies' onwards, we got better at achieving the things we wanted to achieve in the studio."



Reek of Putrefaction was recorded in four days at Rich Bitch Studios in Birmingham. According to guitarist Bill Steer, the studio's engineer "ruined" the record, especially its drum tracks. Carcass had only had a few hours available of mixing, so they had to release the LP as it was to meet the label's deadline. The band were "everything but happy" with the result, declared Steer.[4]

When the master recording was first sent to the pressing plant, the original vinyl LP had to be pressed at lower volumes, because the bass frequencies were so low (sometimes reaching 25 Hz) that they were in danger of rendering higher frequencies inaudible.[5]



Reek of Putrefaction was first released in 1988. The original album cover consisted of a collage of autopsy photographs collected from medical journals.[3] Reek of Putrefaction was re-released in 1994 with a "clean" cover.[6] In 2002, the album was reissued with a censored outer cover proclaiming "Original artwork contained inside".

The album was re-released in 2008 as part of an ongoing series of Carcass reissues to tie in with their reunion. The main album, along with the demo Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment, is presented as one side of a dualdisc, while the DVD side features the first part of an extended documentary titled The Pathologist's Report Part I: Incubation. Later editions contain the album on a CD and the documentary on a separate DVD. The album is presented in a 12-panel digipak with full lyrics and artwork and is sealed in a white medical bag with sticker, to hide the controversial cover art.

Track listing

Side One: Faecal Disarticulation
1."Genital Grinder"1:32
2."Regurgitation of Giblets"1:24
3."Maggot Colony"1:37
4."Pyosisified (Rotten to the Gore)"2:55
5."Carbonized Eyesockets"1:11
6."Frenzied Detruncation"0:59
7."Vomited Anal Tract"1:45
9."Fermenting Innards"2:35
10."Excreted Alive"1:21
Side Two: Anal Disgorgement
13."Microwaved Uterogestation"1:24
14."Feast on Dismembered Carnage"1:27
15."Splattered Cavities"1:54
17."Burnt to a Crisp"2:43
18."Pungent Excruciation"2:31
19."Manifestation of Verrucose Urethra"1:02
20."Oxidised Razor Masticator"3:13
21."Mucopurulence Excretor"1:09
22."Malignant Defecation"2:14
2008 reissue bonus tracks (taken from the Flesh Ripping Sonic Torment demo)
23."Genital Grinder (Intro)"0:50
24."Regurgitation of Giblets"1:56
26."Limb from Limb"1:05
27."Rotten to the Gore"2:54
28."Excreted Alive"0:55
29."Malignant Defecation"1:59
30."Fermenting Innards"2:33
31."Necro-Cannibal Bloodfeast"1:49
33."Die in Pain"0:11
34."Pungent Excruciation"3:04
35."Face Meltaaargh"1:16




Chart (1988) Peak
UK Indie Chart[7] 6


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Reek of Putrefaction". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Carcass: Bio". Metal Maniacs. Retrieved 27 April 2008 – via
  3. ^ a b Mudrian, Albert (2004). Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore. Los Angeles: Feral House. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-93259-504-8.
  4. ^ "Carcass – Perverted Sickos". Rock Hard. June 1990. Retrieved 27 April 2008 – via
  5. ^ Merle, Laurent (1990). "The Glammer, Bill, is Speaking". Peardrop. No. 2. Retrieved 27 April 2008 – via
  6. ^ British 1994 re-release.
  7. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2014.