We all know that Autopsy has a legendary status within death metal and need no introduction to the genre and all metallers; they have inspired and ignited a sea of subsequent bands over the years since their formation in 1987 and arguably more so their demise in 1995 to seal their place in metal’s Hall of Fame. The Californians constantly ignite an instinctive blood fuelled fire with their gore soaked aural exploits and it is fair to say that The Headless Ritual, their sixth album and second since reuniting in 2009, is no deviation to their violent creativity.
The album is prime death metal, as to be expected from the quartet, veined with some viciously enticing grooves, venomously seeping melodic intrusions, and bestial scowling vocals. In many ways drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert and co. has delivered exactly what you would expect, and what their fans undoubtedly demand, but equally there are rich ideas and enterprise to feed current appetites as the band explores the pulse and imagination of modern demands. It is a release which captivates the imagination whilst sound-tracking the blood thirst in us all.
Opener ‘Slaughter At Beast House’ simply chews up the ear from its first stabbing strikes before moving on to the senses with carnivorous riffs scoring with each slash of their sonic blades and a rhythmic demolish which has bone fearing the worst. Across it all the guttural phlegm dripping squalls of Reifert gnaw every syllable of the gore shaped lyrical address into misshapen malevolence grippingly adding to the feast of bestial provocation the band is renowned and famed for. The track is an onrushing assault which toys with its victim through slow ponderous detours whilst the guitars of Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles unveil air searing solos and damaging riffs with consummate ease and enterprise.
The strong start is soon taken to another step with both ‘Mangled Far Below’ and ‘She Is A Funeral’, the first a slab of primal rabidity complete with irresistibly rapacious riffs and a synapse twisting groove whilst its successor opens up a cauldron of sonic grazing before venturing through a more subdued yet intimidating shadow driven death clad depravity. It is fair to say that in many ways there is an absence of anything strikingly new from the band yet there is a fresh stench of blood and imagination that cannot be denied or turned from.
The opening to the following ‘Coffin Crawlers’ is one of the scintillating highlights of the album, the introductory insidious invasion of riffs like a swarm of sonic locust crawling and procuring lustful submission to its insatiable call. The track itself is equally magnetic and ravenous squashing any doubts which may have been at work, though to be fair from the opening track The Headless Ritual was succeeding in that.
Further highlights come in the monstrous ‘When Hammer Meets Bone’, a juggernaut of corruptive intensity and dripping malice which again switches unbridled avalanches of sound and ferocity with lumbering quenchless prowls, the senses stalking and subsequently ravishing ‘Arch Cadaver’ with the bass of Joe Trevisano a snarling savage, and the ear skinning ‘Running From The Goathead’. There is no weakness in the album with each track making a nasty irrepressible persuasion and securing a lit passion for its excellent malefactions.
The Headless Ritual is an outstanding album and sure to ignite the primal passions of their fans and death metal. Seems the legends can still teach newcomers a thing or two.