Well, that cover and the title pretty much say it all. Autopsy is back again rather soon after last year’s The Headless Ritual, and they’re up to their usual sick, crusty, gore-soaked death metal shenanigans. Rocking their old school style of death mixed with doom and horror movies shtick, these shameless fiends show no interest in evolving and if anything, they’re actually devolving further into a grisly stew of sticky unpleasantness. No surprises await the Autopsy fan, just more reliably unhinged sonic mayhem that approximates being on a condemned rollercoaster with zombies, serial killers and hostile ex-girlfriends. Unfortunately, the material here while still plenty fun and grisly, doesn’t always hold up to the standards of the last few releases and things feel cobbled together, rushed and underwhelming at times. In fact, each successive release since their stellar Macabre Eternal comeback has been a bit less inspiring. That said, these scuzz-buckets are a special breed of bacteria and deliver some reliably rabid cuts, and like my mom always says, some new Autopsy is always better than no new Autopsy.
The generalized insanity of lead track “Savagery” is exactly what we all love about this band. They throw caution to the wind and pummel and punish with brilliant, old school venom and it’s glorious. It sounds like taking Animal the Muppet, stuffing him in a garbage can filled with bees and kicking it down a metal staircase; hilarity and mayhem ensues. “King of Ripped Flesh” takes a leftover riff from Sodom‘s In the Sign of Evil and throws up all over it, creating a doomy, creepy and disturbed Pollack-like work of shit art.
The best cuts are all near the end, with “Parasitic Eye” being my personal favorite due to it’s wild, corkscrewing riffs, berserk vocals and overall commitment to being committed. “Burial” shows them doing their best Sabbath/Trouble impression with oppressive doom riffs joining Reifert’s ugly death rasps for a one ton shakedown. Also a winner is closer “Autopsy,” which you’d think would have appeared on their debut, but it was worth the wait and it’s a classic Autopsy killer with some newfangled Viking battle riffery.
With all the praise for the dead out of the way, some songs here don’t move me, despite my love for their style. “The Howling Dead” seems to drift aimlessly for much of its runtime, though the references to Celtic Frost‘s To Mega Therion are cool and Chris Reifert does a canny Tom. G. Warrior impression. Songs like “Forever Hungry” and “Teeth of the Shadows” are furious and ugly, but don’t leave much impression, even though have nice riffs embedded therein. Weirdest of the bunch is “Deep Crimson Dreamin,” which opens with sweetly melodic 70s doom rock before degenerating into a lumbering gore beast. As much as I like them trying something a bit different here, it doesn’t really captivate me as a song and it slows the pace of the album way down. Tourniquets also feels over long at 49 minutes, since this kind of mindless buttslaughter is best in slightly smaller doses.
What makes Autopsy special is that no matter how talented the band actually is, they always sound soupy, shitty and sloppy. It’s a deception, because guitarists Culter and Coralles can really play and as usual, they serve up plenty of winning riffs of the death, thrash and doom variety. They also snake in more of a punky edge than usual with songs like “Autopsy” in particular having a strong The Accused vibe. Reifert continues to be the reigning king of frothing-from-all-orifices vocals and you get your money’s worth here in slather and splatter. He’s what makes the band such a grim joy and I love him dearly. He isn’t a slouch at drumming either, and most songs contain nifty fills and beats (especially during “After the Cutting”).
It’s another demonic frat party in a gasoline soaked mausoleum and everyone brought matches. If you love the Autopsy brand of slop-death, you’ll probably love 3/4ths of this monster. I wish it was more consistent, but I still enjoyed the ride. Definitely not seasoned to all tastes though.