Autopsy – ‘The Tomb Within’ EP Review

Far more insidious than any computer game or violent movie, Autopsy, the legendary gore metallers from Florida, have succeeded in making the most savagely stunning music of the career on this darkly beautiful EP from Peaceville. Having split up in the 90s following a string of well-received discs (not least the 1989 debut ‘severed survival’ which was recently re-issued as a double disc set or collector’s vinyl) Autopsy have created a vicious come-back record which shows that they’ve lost none of the gloriously twisted inventiveness that saw them at the forefront of extreme metal back in their heyday.

Recorded earlier this year by the original line-up of Chris Reifert, Danny Oralles and Eric Cutler as well as former Abcess man Joe Trevisano (on bass) the very first thing to notice is the striking cover art which is somehow sickening and beautiful at the same time and which comes courtesy of artist Matt Cavotta who has successfully captured the horrific elements of the band’s early artwork and imbued it with a mature subtlety which perfectly suits the well-written brutality contained within.

The EP itself contains five tracks, clocking in at just over twenty minutes and is available either as a super-jewel case CD or as a limited edition vinyl 12” (complete with poster) which will undoubtedly be the weapon of choice for fans of the band. Opening with the title track, which roars into sight with a rusty scream and razor-sharp guitars, there’s a devilish heaviness to Autopsy 2010  that sees them instantly recapture the ground lost since their split almost fifteen years ago and a new-found incisiveness that sees them incorporate brutal time changes and brutally slow passages that only serve to emphasise the vicious speed found elsewhere while lyrically Autopsy remain as disturbingly literary as they ever were with the obvious horror references rendered fascinating thanks to an intelligent turn of phrase that only truly becomes apparent following a brief glance at the helpfully included lyric booklet. ‘My corpse shall rise’ sees the band take a Slayer turn with a carefully harmonised guitar introduction in the vein of ‘Raining blood’ before the pummelling rhythm section unleash a storm of hateful riffing that is more than capable of competing with the very heaviest bands out there. Brutal, uncompromising and mixed to perfection by Adam Munoz who perfectly balances the band’s chaotic instrumentation with a power that sees every song rip out of the speakers with deadly effect this is a welcome return to form for a band who’ve been absent for far too long.

While ‘my corpse…’ offered a subtle build up to maximum speed, ‘Seven skulls’ offers no such mercy, with the guitars hitting with all the impact of a Howitzer round. Utterly brutal from the off this is the sort of track that justifies the legend that Autopsy have had built around them during their absence and it does away with the notion that they may have run short of inspiration. A vicious blizzard of maximum strength guitar riffs and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink drumming the real star are the tortured vocals which tear across the track with a terrifying power and authority.The charmingly titled ‘human genocide’ manages the near impossible by upping the tempo still further, lending further credence to the Slayer comparisons and simply slaying with speed and precision. Final track ‘mutant village’ doesn’t even try to compete with the preceding onslaught, offering up a doom laden introduction that is all deathly slow riffing and powerful drumming reminiscent of Rorcal and elements of Cannibal Corpse.

There’s no doubt that with this release Autopsy have once again staked their claim as kings of the gore metal genre. Better still they’ve been treated with the respect they deserve by Peaceville records who have lavished their usual attention to detail upon the packaging offering up a choice of vinyl or CD, both of which are surreally beautiful in a truly horrifying way. Too heavy, too uncompromising and too ugly to be for everyone, this will absolutely satisfy fans who lamented the loss of the band who recorded ‘severed survival’ and is more than powerful enough to compete with today’s vicious gore-merchants. Expect no quarter and track down this thrilling EP if you enjoy all things sickening – this is awesome!

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