Autopsy: Macabre Eternal

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Autopsy: Macabre Eternal
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Autopsy: Macabre Eternal
Death Metal
Peaceville Records
May 31st, 2011
Release length: 1:05:27
Myspace
Website
Following up their successful comeback EP The Tomb Within, Autopsy return with their first full-length since 1995’s Shitfun. If that previous EP has shown the fans anything, it’s that the band hasn’t lost their edge, and with Macabre Eternal, the band shoves that idea down your throat with wretched, vile, and disgusting Death Metal the likes of which this band has been known for. But is it the return to force that the fans have begged for over so many years?

Macabre Eternal spans a total of twelve pure Death Metal tracks that sound simple vile and disgusting, just the way the band is known for. While the album has a rather clear quality to it, the music just sounds sickening thanks to the muddier sound and distortions used by the band. This music has a slight rawness to it because of that, and while the guitars feel a little hollow, the richer sound of the music seems to stem heavily from the louder bass levels. “Hand of Darkness” starts the album off right with a grotesque sounding faster paced assault with vocals gutterals barking at the listener, as if they were spewed out of a foaming mouth, and with the bass hammering away along with the guitars, it makes the song sound much more full then some of the slower tracks, such as “Dirty Gore Whore”, which is a much slower presence that leaves plenty of open spots that leave the music to sound a little hollow in comparison to “Hand of Darkness”, or any other track on here.

The best way to explain the material here is just to call it old-school Death Metal. The obvious influence from early Death Metal bands like Possessed can clearly be felt as a presence on this release, and the band’s own lineage stays strong to create some rather creepy sounding tracks, like “Always About to Die” and it’s creepier performance. There are also times where the music seems to move, or at least show some influence from some other styles, like that track with a more old-school Doom Metal performance, and “Deliver Me from Sanity” with it’s heavier guitar chords that sometimes hammer away with a more Sludge Metal approach, through still retaining that awkward creepiness to the song. But, this doesn’t necessarily work for all the songs. “Bludgeoned and Brained” manages to kick things up a notch musically though. The song itself is very chaotic, and does still have that creepy sense to it, but it’s more maddening then anything. The music feels all over the place at times, and gets worse as the song builds up to the end, which leads to a much more booming closing performance where it essentially just becomes chaotic noise to a rhythm, closing with some screams of desperation from the vocalist. The environment of the song the band sets up works well for that, though it starts off a little rocky, but in all it’s a song well worth the trip through.

For the most part, Macabre Eternal is a decent mixture of faster paced songs and slow paced ones. There are plenty of tracks out there, like “Deliver Me from Sanity”, that do a good job blending the faster elements with slower bridges and passages, and it works out alright when the band is trying to not sound disgusting and bring in a much creepier, more sadistic or crazy element to their music. But, sometimes it can feel like the band is a little lost in trying to convey anything like that. “Dirty Gore Whore” winds up being a slow song that really doesn’t offer anything too interesting to the listener and comes up a bit hollow at times. “Bridge of Bones” happens to be the same way, both sounding more Doom Metal meets Death Metal at times with the slower pace and somewhat droning guitar work, but “Bridge of Bones” at least manages to keep things a little more interesting, has a great guitar solo, and has a much more energetic performance in the vocals, all working to keep the listener attentive the entire track through varying shifts in the music’s pace and general sound. “Seeds of the Doomed”, however, lacks all that, and really just isn’t the most engaging song, coming off more like a filler track that utilizes a lot of the slower pace ideas the band has already outlined, and not really building on them, causing the track to feel a little more bland in comparison to other tracks on here.

Of all the tracks on this release though, the one song that will leave the biggest impact with the listener will easily be “Sadistic Gratification”. The song moves at a slower pace, but nothing like “Dirty Gore Whore”. Much like “Bludgeoned and Brained”, the song builds as you continue through the track, and there’s enough changes to the track the make it worth sitting through that can keep the listener engaged. However, the song takes on a much more massochistic side as you reach the stronger, richer, louder climax that eventually includes a woman screaming in agony, as if being tortured. This sound clip makes for the icing on the conceptual cake, as the whole song seems to take on more of a story-based presence by the tiem you reach the end, though the closing guitars seem a little out of place to the over eleven minute song, though they signal in the faster paced music again for a strong blistering track the likes of which haven’t been seen sicne “Hand of Darkness”, bringing back that overall grotesque sound to the music as it’s hammer deep into yoru skull with energy and vocals that again sound as if from a frothing mouth.

Fans of Autopsy will definitely be pleased by Macabre Eternal, and even newcomers will find a satisfactory return of the band’s old sound, but with a more modern production value to it. The music here is either creepy or disgusting, or a mixture of both through the release, and while some of the slower tracks here don’t offer much to keep the listener too enthralled the whole time, acting more like filler to keep it at a respectable level, it still becomes a noteworthy album full of songs that grab you by the throat and simply don’t let go. For a reunion full-length, it has it’s cobwebs that need to be cleaned out, but it’s as if the band never really went anywhere, and the music picked up around the same spot Autopsy left off at. Either way, it’s an album that is well worth checking out, and definitely a welcome return to the Death Metal field by this legendary group.

01. Hand of Darkness – 5:19
02. Dirty Gore Whore – 5:45
03. Always About to Die – 5:15
04. Macabre Eternal – 4:39
05. Deliver Me from Sanity – 4:24
06. Seeds of the Doomed – 5:26
07. Bridge of Bones – 4:46
08. Born Undead – 4:00
09. Sewn into One – 6:31
10. Bludgeoned and Brained – 4:09
11. Sadistic Gratification – 11:33
12. Spill My Blood – 3:40
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.