February 28th, 2012
Release length: 1:13:05
All Tomorrow’s Funerals makes for a nice little collection of material that no longer is available, or at least isn’t all that easy to buy. The collection covers the The Tomb Within, Fiend for Blood, and Retribution for the Dead EPs in their original track list, as well as their reverse chronological order. It also includes the Horrific Obsession single from 2009, and apparently “Funereality” from the Acts of the Unspeakable full-length for good measure. On top of all this you get five new songs, four of which start out the release, and a final piece rounds this collection out. Of course, the quality of all the songs are generally different, though with the modern quality, the older material does manage to feel more up-to-date and much more crisp. The more recent previously available songs do a little louder, but outside the music coming through a bit on the higher end of the quality spectrum, there isn’t much difference
Even with that slightly stronger quality, it becomes obvious the band really wanted more of a rawer tone to the four new songs, which you can still get a sense of. Bleak and dirty Death Metal kicks off with the title track, “All Tomorrow’s Funerals,” which boasts lead vocals that sound gruesome and vile with background harsher accompaniment at times. The song is your traditional mid-tempo Autopsy fans have come to know over the years, and immediately whips the listener into a frenzy with its constant pace and many nice shifts between the verses, chorus, and everything in between. The guitar solo here really suits the high impact material well, and generally is just a jaw-dropping offering that helps to amp the intensity to a new level rather quickly. This solid song could end there easily, but it doesn’t, catering to an open moment where the vocals are more narrative with a disgusting roughness, caving into a slower, intimidating section that allows the subtle click of the bass kicks, as well as the louder cymbals and snares to take the lead for quite a while and establish an ominous presence against the deep guitar distortions and chords led nicely by a matching prominent bass guitar sound and performance. This keeps the over five-minute song alive and fresh for the last half, making for a nice, if slightly unexpected twist.
The rest of the new tracks don’t quite have that same kind of intensity, and usually finds a good early Death Metal influence to them. “Broken People” makes for a fantastic mixture of crushing, intimidating modern Autopsy with an energetic Possessed-era imprint to many of the passages. The slight echo and what appears to be a layering effect on the vocals really help to make this track Â just sound nightmarish. Like “All Tomorrow’s Funerals” we find the music slowing down again about half-way into aÂ psychedelic ritualistic sound. There’s also “Mauled to Death” which is just an intense, aggression filled assault on the listener that drips unbridled rage from the faster passages, and a creepy intimidation once more in some of the slower passages. However, this track does find some bridges that feature a nice mid-tempo groove with an interesting, yet subtle bass performance behind it, which isn’t shocking considering how well that instrument takes center stage here to begin with, really upping the unrelenting atmosphere. “Maggot Holes,” however, is not really the most impressive, and feels more like a longer introduction than anything. Clearly driven by its environment, the song carries enough of a creepy tone through what seems like intentionally terrifying psychedelic chords, but not really hitting the mark. The slower paced song does build up a little suspense, but in the end that’s all it ends up doing sadly.
From here on out, aside the last track, “Sign of the Corpse,” you are met with remastered versions of songs already released, and they are nothing special compared to the originals. The Tomb Within has a louder sound to it, and a pretty clean vocal performance, all of which doesn’t really differ too much from the original pressing. The bass definitely stands out a little more here, similar to the first four tracks, and it does sound good, but it doesn’t really carry as strong an intimidating level as you would expect. Next are “Horrific Obsession” and “Feast of the Graveworm,” both havingÂ a slightly raw and restrained sound, but are definitely a lot more crisp compared to the originals thanks to the band playing around with the masters. Of course, this is where the more modern sound and volume levels comes to a halt, as “Funereality” brings in the analog Autopsy sound with a much more raw vibe to it with sharper music. This track doesn’t seem to have much done with it other than a little cleaning up to make it sound more up-to-date with their latest efforts honestly, as well as trying to carry a fluid sound from the new songs all the way to the earliest song for this release. This is fine, but ultimately seems to remove much of what makes it a good song in the first place.
Unfortunately this Â happens with the rest of the material as well. The Fiend for Blood EP does find a better quality to it, having a sharper sound with a little less noise in the mix. However, it still loses some of its rawer edge that made these songs stand out. “Keeper of Decay” is a prime example with the slower elements earlier on that focus largely on a crushing sound that seems to be wiped away, though not to the point of sterility thankfully. Instead, the louder, digital interpretation of this strong, unnerving track still has some intimidation towards the end, but the bass feels less important in establishing the tone of the music. The odd thing is that the three tracks making up the Retribution for the Dead EP towards the end have this similar issue, but still carry a deeper bass presence to it that adds a light vile touch to the music, definitely helping the title track of the EP and its slower pace. The same goes for the other two songs. Of course the final original track, Â “Sign of the Corpse,” is just a short piece of music played backwards. A suiting closing, but not necessarily anything worth salivating over.
To put it bluntly, this compilation really didn’t need to happen. Nothing here truly benefits from the remastering done, in fact it kind of takes away from the raw qualities that made these tracks so good in the first place. But, that doesn’t make these modernized versions bad or not worth your time in any way. If you like things sounding new and digital, then by all means, pick this up today. If you’re not the big a fan of digital alterations, it may help to know Autopsy didn’t do too much damage by cleaning the songs up, which in the end is about all they really wound up doing from the sound of it. With the first four songs absolutely worth it, considering All Tomorrow’s FuneralsÂ more as an EP with eighteen bonus tracks makes more sense, and can help justify spending the money, even if you already have the originals.
01. All Tomorrow’s Funerals – 5:14
02. Broken People – 3:55
03. Mauled to Death – 4:28
04. Maggot Holes – 2:57
05. The Tomb Within – 3:43
06. My Corpse Shall Rise – 4:19
07. Seven Skulls – 3:06
08. Human Genocide – 3:05
09. Mutant Village – 5:52
10. Horrific Obsession – 4:32
11. Feast of the Graveworm – 3:27
12. Funereality – 2:53
13. Fiend for Blood – 0:26
14. Keeper of Decay – 2:24
15. Squeel Like a Pig – 3:43
16. Ravenous Freaks – 2:23
17. A Different King of Mindfuck – 0:47
18. Dead Hole – 2:30
19. Retribution for the Dead – 3:54
20. Destined to Fester – 4:30
21. In the Grip of Winter – 4:05
22. Sign of the Corpse – 0:54
|Overall Score: 7/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.