One of the simplest yet strongest arguments against modern bands playing “Old School” Death Metal is that they’re not Autopsy. With one of the most seminal bands of that style putting out at least one high quality release every year since 2010’s The Tomb Within (Peaceville), it’s perfectly reasonable to ask whether we really need imitators, even highly skilled ones.
Reviewing an Autopsy release almost seems pointless (but I’m going to do it anyway, so shut up) – by this point their style has become so clearly defined that I need to say little more than the band name. The tracks on this EP perhaps tend towards the groovier, slower end of their range more regularly, but overall there are no surprises here – and fortunately, that applies to the quality too. Their reunion still shows absolutely no signs of slacking or running dry.
It has, of course, been a very long time now since Autopsy could be considered the most brutal, or the most “extreme” (that shifting, nebulous quality that means so much less than both journalists and politicians think it does) of Death Metal bands, but they still somehow manage to sound the most… sick. There’s something genuinely diseased in Autopsy’s sound, a creeping unpleasantness that goes far beyond who tunes down the most or whose drummer is the fastest. A big part of this, of course, is Chris Reifert – both his lolloping, ugly drums and genuinely tormented vocals sound genuinely nasty – but it’s the song-writing too. Autopsy have always put Death Metal’s eternal war between Brutal and Melodic to shame by reminding us that real old school DM always had both, and it’s the twisted, cloying melodies here that make Skull Grinder (Peaceville) sound so genuinely distasteful.
It’s an Autopsy EP. Seriously, what else can I say?
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