Macabre Eternal

Written by: EW on 19/06/2011 09:34:55

Two bona fide death metal legends releasing (semi-) reformation albums at the same time? Why, this calls for a comparison!

When said two legends are Autopsy and Morbid Angel one would imagine the choice of who to review first would be hard to make, but, unless you've been living on Mars or/are reading the wrong review, the new 'Angel has not gone down too well with their fanbase, so let's start with the more positive of the two shall we?

Autopsy's legendary status comes from their simple, no frills take on death metal that continues to this day with "Macabre Eternal" in what is about as good a record as anyone could have expected from a band out the game so long. These San Franciscans don't do triggered drumming or studio-perfected hyper-speed riffing, instead concentrating on playing the kind of 'blue-collar' rough and ready death metal no deathcore kid of today is ever likely to have heard of. When a band so rooted in a bygone age return to an entirely different musical climate, the dichotomy of adjusting their sound to fit the current climate or belligerently ignoring musical progress is a tough one to make, but "Macabre Eternal"'s greatest credit is how it manages to do both. As immediately evident in "Hand of Darkness" Autopsy circa 2011 is a crude and organic beast but an improved one on the filthy days of yore, a return to which may just have been a little too nostalgic for all but the die-hards to swallow.

Well-known for mixing mid-tempo death metal with primal, dirty doom Autopsy have always stood proud from most of their comrades, but their evidence is seen in countless others, notably the likes of Asphyx. The opening salvos here are much more of the death metal than doom variety, with "Seeds of the Doomed" being one of the first to drop the anchor on proceedings and “Sewn Into One” the standout classic example of it. "Dirty Gore Whore" and "Deliver Me From Sanity" batter away with incessant groove while the rest in "Bridge Of Bones", "Born Undead" and onwards are guaranteed to appeal to the senses of anyone who feel death metal needs a little more historical perspective amidst the arms race that continues to exist 25+ years after Autopsy helped birth the damned thing.

Chris Reifert on vocals/drums puts in the kind of commanding performance that could only be expected from one of THE eldest statesmen of death metal while all else perform as highly as could be expected. The issue of "Macabre Eternal" dragging on too long (it is 65 minutes) would be more worthy mention if each minute wasn't of such enjoyable quality. In what is to follow as an example of adjusting a sound way beyond accepted notions, Autopsy have done themselves proud with a thrilling return to life by sticking to what they do best - a best you could say is the perfect representation of death metal music.


Download: Seeds of the Doomed, Born Undead
For The Fans Of: Master, Asphyx, old Death
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 30.05.2011
Peaceville Records

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