"Macabre Eternal"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Broken mirror on the wall, who's the sickest band of all? Why, Autopsy, of course! At long last these depraved ghouls are back in action, having put the band Abscess to bed in a septic tank somewhere and returning to the cult phenomenon that inspired many an aspiring lunatic. I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times...what separates a great death metal band from a routine one is a genuine feeling of sickness and morbidity. Such a feeling cannot be faked or done in a half-ass manner. That feeling drips from every pore of "Macabre Eternal" like slime from a decaying corpse and makes the record a sinister pleasure to listen to.

There's a madness to the band's musical approach, as they lurch from riff to riff with what seems to be macabre insanity. Noisy, sometimes rock n roll based guitar solos can come blasting out at any minute and Autopsy knows how to create doomy, truly sick sounding riffs. But the icing on the cake are the vocals, which sound maniacal in a way that no other band has come close to. Chris Reifert bellows, shrieks, gurgles and growls hysterically, often sounding like he has a gallon of phlegm in his gullet...there's no strict pattern to his outbursts and where that would be a liability for most bands, for Autopsy it is a positive boon. When Reifert feels like concentrating on his drumming, guitarist Eric Cutler takes over on tracks like "Dirty Gore Whore" and "Sadistic Gratification", sounding pretty disturbed himself. These vocals of the damned help push Autopsy into the abyss.

12 morbid cuts are featured on this "comeback" album, including the massive ten-minute plus "Sadistic Gratification" where merciless lyrics and unnerving female screams combine with the pounding, doomy music to create something genuinely uncomfortable to listen to. That's the album epic, but other enjoyable cuts are opener "Hand of Darkness", "Always About To Die" and "Born Undead". It's all good, though, especially if you'd like to visit an insane asylum that's been attacked by flesh-eating zombies.

The superb Wes Benscoter cover is just the final touch of horror that makes "Macabre Eternal" one of the best death metal albums of the year. Welcome back, Autopsy!