A brand new Autopsy album? Well tickle me Hellmo! Now, THESE guys are the very definition of old school death metal and founder, drummer and chief gurgler Chris Reifert got his start with the legendary band Death way, way back in 86′. After playing on the Death debut, Reifert went off to launch Autopsy and they were one of the first bands to market themselves as death metal. After several classic albums loaded with crusty death mixed with grinding doom riffs, Reifert called it a day so he could pursue his other band Abscess full time. After reuniting for their The Tomb Within EP in 2010, Reifert decided to fold Abscess and resurrect the mighty Autopsy and hence, we get Macabre Eternal, their first new album in fifteen long years. So, does it live up to their legendary status in the genre? Can it ever meet the huge expectations of long time fans? Is Rhapsody of Fire entirely made of cheese? Of course! It’s an instant classic and so, so fucking sick, you just have to hear it to understand.
Macabre Eternal wastes no time reminding you what Autopsy is all about. Opener “Hand of Darkness” explodes with that classic primitive, grinding death metal racket and packs a myriad of crude, ugly riffs and Reifert’s one-of-a-kind, deranged and unbalanced vocals. It’s as if this is the follow up to 91’s Mental Funeral and they sound just as angry, dangerous and hungry. Listen to the brilliantly frantic lead riff from “Dirty Gore Whore” and the way the song changes into a slow, grinding juggernaut, slithering along ominously. Enjoy the Trouble-caliber doom riffage leading off “Seeds of Doom.” During “Bridge of Bones” they even throw in an acoustic accompaniment as Reifert tries to cough up the biggest phlegm ball mankind has ever known. As if that isn’t enough, they grace us with an eleven minute ode to serial killing called “Sadistic Gratification” and damn, it really ends up working well (amazing riffs and solos throughout). Across all twelve tracks they consistently bring their A-game and show how old styled death is supposed to be done.
The huge selling point for me are the completely insane and unorthodox vocals. Reifert (and possibly others) goes all out and uses about fifty different vocal styles along with utilizing some reverb and vocal multi-tracking. On songs like “Deliver Me From Sanity” he alternates between screaming, gurgling and noises one makes right before the stomach hurls its contents back through the mouth. Hear that projectile vomiting at 1:53 – 2:10 on “Bridge of Bones”? That’s the sound of dedication to one’s craft. The true highlight comes during “Born Undead” where most of what he’s regurgitating probably aren’t even real words but its just so wonderfully sick and wrong. This is one of the weirdest collections of vocal sounds ever assembled but I couldn’t help loving the insanity.
Right up there with the vocals is the top notch guitar work from Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles. Keeping the riffing firmly anchored in the old school style, they churn out one barn burner after another and the album is loaded with great death and doom riff work (very Celtic Frosty). The solos are predominantly from the Slayer school of frenzied whammy molestation but it suits the filthy, crusty atmosphere. The Lyrics are typically grisly and gore-obsessed but also very tongue-in-cheek. The chorus of “rape you, kill you” during “Dirty Gore Whore” won’t win these guys many endorsements from the National Organization of Women but it’s all in good fun.
And that’s exactly why this is so refreshing and enjoyable. It’s FUN! As heavy as Autopsy gets, there’s always an air of levity and goofiness about them that has all but vanished from death metal these days. It doesn’t in any way lessen the brutality and if anything, it adds another dimension of enjoyability to it.
Reifert and company have returned from the muck and murk to give us a sludgy, scabby, raw and unrefined work of death metal shit/art. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who still love that old school death style, this is a can’t miss and must be heard. Get back on that cold morgue slab, because Autopsy is back in town and they brought a bonesaw.