Autopsy - Mental Funeral
Peaceville Records
Death Metal
12 songs (37:54)
Release year: 1991
Autopsy, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review

With my classic review of the complete and total masterpiece Like an Everflowing Stream by Swedish legends Dismember . I decided to once again adhere to my reviewing niche in spending the week on a single genre. This release also marks the theme of Death Metal this week. This arguably classic album was released in 1991, the same year as the previously mentioned album. 1991 was arguably one of the best if not the best years for Death Metal when it was truly a force to be reckoned with. Death Metal today is a still a global force and a huge draw, but so many of the classics were released in these early years of the 90s. Autopsy is a raw and brutal Death Metal band formed by former Death drummer Chris Reifert, who also performs on vocals. That must not be an easy task live. After breaking up in 1995, reforming in 2008, and finally permanently reforming this year, it’s safe to say that Autopsy, a band of many great releases, has some Death Metal fans whetting their appetite. This is another solid release by Autopsy. After debut Severed Survival, which was excellent, Autopsy charged themselves with furthering their brand of sludgy Death Metal, and with Mental Funeral they did just that.

Arguably, some forumites will surely brand this album a classic, but with further explanation the positives and negatives of this album can weigh out to earn a solid grade, but will not be accepted into the pantheon of classics. Autopsy play a brand of Death Metal with droning Doomish moments, sludgy guitar sounds, and gutterslime vocals. This is truly fetid Death Metal, and its start exemplifies that statement.

The album starts off strong with one if it’s finest tracks. The rapid fire Death Metal lurches forth from your speakers. There are little to no blast beats on this album, the first beat being a simple Thrash rhythm but with some really good fills. Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay immediately gives a radiating explanation as to why I would call Mental Funeral “Sludgy” Death Metal. The guitar tone is not bad, but it’s not cutting edge and razor sharp. The drums are very organic sounding, and are rather solid and are needed to be good given that the soul and leader of the band is Chris Reifert who drums and sings. The bass is nicely produced as it does not steal the show but it does buff and thicken the sound. If you’re one that likes a fuzzy, buzzed tone that almost takes on the quality of Black Metal but with much more emphasis on the low end of the register. Reifert’s voice is not overbearing, which is great because overly loud vocals sometime ruin Death Metal. His voice is mid to low, with no high end notes, and mostly hard and powerful grunts. The next song is In the Grip of Winter. Songs like this one are primarily the reason why I don’t score Mental Funeral as high as other reviewers would.

There seems to be a few moments that are very present on this record where the songs take on a Death Doom feel and they simply play at a miserably sluggish pace with little to no invention. Songs like Hole in the Head are more well written as there are throngs of nice drum rhythms and perfectly timed riffs. The Doomish moments here actually work out and become an integral piece of the track. Each song does well in producing a steadfast, dirty, sludgy, Death Metal feel. A great effort from a band with such a rich and underrated past. Just short of being seriously considered a classic. A sign of the times, and a great piece from the great emergence of Death Metal. Look forward to more great work to finally spring forth from the long tapped wells of Autopsy. They are back, and hungry for more.

Killing Songs :
Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay, Fleshcrawl, Hole in the Head, Mental Funeral
Tony quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Autopsy that we have reviewed:
Autopsy - The Headless Ritual reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Autopsy - Macabre Eternal reviewed by Charles and quoted 88 / 100
Autopsy - The Tomb Within reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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