Autopsy - Macabre Eternal
Peaceville Records
Death Metal
12 songs (01:05:04)
Release year: 2011
Autopsy, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Charles
More so than any other of the death metal comebacks that have surfaced this year, Autopsy’s Macabre Eternal is the sound of true returning masters of their craft. And what a sleazy fucking craft it is. The band have never sounded so horrible, even on Mental Funeral or Severed Survival, which is quite an achievement. It represents over an hour of the most vomitous death metal I have heard in quite some time, oozing with the gaseous grooves that characterised their early works, as well as gobbing out punkish snot drawn from the Abscess years, culminating in a dark and disturbing album that reveals both the sordid depths and the refreshing compositional ambition that last year’s Tomb Within EP barely even hinted at.

Musically, despite the manifest crudeness which characterises everything Autopsy do, Macabre Eternal is an album of twists and turns. The band are masters of tempo, squeezing every last drop of filthy groove out of the slow sections in tracks like Bridge of Bones or the Human Centipede-inspired Sewn Into One. At other times, though, they are also capable of a cackling breakneck speed, as with the clawing, frantic Spill My Blood, which bizarrely seems to evoke early Cryptopsy in its garbled pacing but neatly undermines the comparison through the bluesy-ness of its lead solo. The eyebrow-raiser will be Sadistic Gratification, an eleven-minute epic in which the band pull together these different sides with unexpected aplomb. It begins with a creeping horror-soundtrack ostinato, overlaid with neatly harmonised twin-lead keening which resurfaces later on in a supremely sinister, almost melodeath-inspired climax. It is tightly-controlled and subtly evocative, by anybody’s standards, let alone Autopsy’s.

So Macabre Eternal is a more ambitious expansion of the classic sound from the band’s early years, sure. But the factor which really elevates this to a new level of horror is the sheer insanity conveyed in Reifert and Cutler’s vocals. They are incredibly expressive: the sound of grown men descending into shrieking madness- quite literally in the case of Deliver Me From Sanity, in which Reifert interrupts dense death metal riffing to deliver a bellowed monologue of gore-drenched mania. But it’s Cutler who adds the most darkness to this. His grunting performance on Dirty Gore Whore is utterly chilling, falling flawlessly into character (at least, I hope to god it’s a character) as the sweating misogynist pervert fantasising about his victim. The lyrics are repugnant- ‘Rape you, kill you, rape you, kill you’- to the extent that it becomes deeply uncomfortable to listen to. Perhaps it’s missing the point to advocate a pro-feminist death metal (though Napalm Death would beg to differ), but a perfect end to this song would surely be gory redemption in the form of a severed penis and crushed testicles. What better concept for a death metal track than the dying grunts of a rapist bleeding to death from the waist downwards?

Anyway, listening to this album makes you feel deeply unclean, which is undoubtedly Autopsy’s prime objective. In terms of its sheer grisly effectiveness as death metal, this is probably one of 2011’s best releases so far.

Killing Songs :
Sadistic Gratification, Spill My Guts, Deliver Me From Sanity
Charles quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Autopsy that we have reviewed:
Autopsy - The Headless Ritual reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Autopsy - The Tomb Within reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Autopsy - Mental Funeral reviewed by Tony and quoted 94 / 100
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