Posts Tagged ‘Autopsy’

The Lords of the Land festival in Glasgow has some serious issues to contend with this year. First of all, how was the lineup ever going to match last year’s Carcass/Obituary/Napalm Death/Voivod magic? And secondly the small matter of the Heavy Scotland event in Edinburgh on the same weekend, featuring Grave, Arch Enemy and Behemoth, as well as others. Well, the lineup proved to be as competitive, if not superior, as you could want. I mean, black metal and death metal legends colliding with thrash and even a bit of grind and doom. FUCK YEAH! The old Barrowland ballroom played host once again.

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Opening at the unbearable 12:30pm slot, Rotten Sound were fucking ace. The half hour slot is designed for grindcore bands, and Rotten Sound played to an impressively full Barrowlands considering the time of day. They were sharp, visceral and, best of all, allowed me the opportunity to get a hold of an HM-2 pedal tribute shirt. Killer start to the day, that only improved with the advent of Memoriam. Coming from a guy who named his blog and inspiration after a Bolt Thrower song,  I can honestly say that Memoriam are more than worthy successors to the crown. Karl Willets was in fine form, and massive riffs cascaded upon us lucky few. Willets remarked that this was a celebration of life through death metal, and nothing is more true.

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Next up was the hilarious vitality of Acid Reign, old school British thrash that felt so alive and vital it made me smile. So did the stage banter, with ‘Hello Edinburgh’ getting a particular chuckle. They were high energy, frontman H racing around the stage, encouraging all kinds of crowd participation and almost shitting himself when caught stagediving and taken to the back of the room before being ran forward and chucked back onto the stage. Mental. Mental is also how you would describe the aural waves of terrifying brutality emanating from Dragged into Sunlight, who took the stage behind clouds of smoke and a ghostly, huge candelabra. Their blackened sludgey noise was fearsome, and the fact that the band spent the whole show with their backs to us added to the esoteric mystery surroundng them.

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I took a break from the action during Venom Inc, so I couldn’t pass comment on them but I got back just in time for Marduk’s ‘Heaven Shall Burn’ set which, like every Marduk show, was full throttle black metal of war and darkness. Yet again I had the pleasure of getting ‘Accuser/Opposer’ with Nemtheanga live, and they closed with ‘Panzer Division Marduk’! Speaking of Primordial, they have become a band that have transcended beyond what we would consider simply ‘pagan black metal’, becoming the embodiment of what Bathory strode towards. Nemtheanga’s vocals command immediate attention, like a monstrous and apocalyptic preacher. The stunning ‘Babel’s Tower’ and the enthralling ‘The Coffin Ships’ were particular highlights in a flawless set of blackened doom grandeur.

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The stage darkens, smoke billows from under the drumkit and deep, blue lights shroud the oncoming storm of black metal perfection that is Mayhem, and ‘De Mysteriis de Satanas’ complete. Worth the price of admission alone, the howling ‘Freezing Moon’ and savage ‘Pagan Fears’ remind you about how all black metal owes so much debt to this record. Atilla Csihar’s vocals sound like the voice of Satan himself, and draped in a black cloak and then as a demonic priest, he embodies the dark magic infusing each frozen riff. Hw can anyone follow this?

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Well, Autopsy with every vintage death metal riff ever just about managed. You don’t realise just how much they’ve influenced the genre, until you think about how every ‘old school’ death metal band basically stole everything fom them. Rabid fury crashes into sludgey, evil riffs while vomitous vocals spill from behind Chris Reifert’s drumkit. Despite the fact that we are approaching 11 hours into the day, I think that this was the best moment of the night. Tiredness overwheming us, the first time these legends have graced Scottish shores in 27 years mean that we were reinvigorated enough to show them our appreciation.What a fucking triumph.

Necrosic - Putrid Decimation

Nuclear War Now! Productions have bestowed upon us the debut from Necrosic, a new project from Autopsy’s Eric Cutler. This immediately establishes Necrosic as a band with a pedigree to live up to. Thankfully, ‘Putrid Decimation’ does exactly, a sludgy primal death metal rumble that is sure to satisfy fans of blood curdling, steamrolling metal of death.

Opener ‘Vomit Transmutation’ is underpinned by a dense drumming performance, and rumbling death metal riffs loom large over the top, while a throaty growl belches various intonations of evil. The relentless ‘Spawn of Radiation’ is a hearty Bolt Thrower style destroyer, with chunky riffage dominating the pallette. This is simple but effective; Necrosic do not assault with technicality, instead opting for a more full on, bulldozing death metal performance. Punctured with some nice solos, the songs are well built, and feel like the solid USDM sound is still alive and kicking.

If the likes of ‘My Casket Drains’ don’t inspire you to bang your head at the elephantine groove, then there’s a chance you’re dead from the neck up. Necrosic are unbearably heavy in parts, and their simple riffing and songwriting is infinitely more satisfying than tech death wankery. This is death metal you can rely on to crush your mind until it runs out your ear holes!

Lists. Lists are both the bane and the joy of many metalheads’ lives. We are constantly in search of ‘the best death metal bands you’ve never heard of in Paraguay’ or something like that. We seek out the unknown, then attempt to quantify it in top 10s, top 50s, top 100s. Year-end lists are the ultimate expression of our desire to have an unarguable truth in what defines ‘the best’ of something. Yet, as music taste is subjective, we can’t really ever have something that satisfies everyone.

So, in the spirit of listing things, I have collected 23 lists of ‘best of 2013’ from a variety of magazines and websites, and put them into a spreadsheet to try and determine if there is any general correlation between the views of these people on the best records of 2013. Some things were not surprising (Motorhead, Carcass and Windhand did very well), some things were (no votes for new Suffocation? Really?). There were a great many records that only gathered one vote, one suggestion that it was a brilliant record as part of 2013. Some records didn’t appear that I enjoyed (Boris -Praparat and New Keepers of the Water Towers – Cosmic Child) and some that I felt were very poor (Megadeth – Super Collider anyone?) did.

But in the end, I am not here to judge, merely to report. I know what my favourite records of last year were, and most of them were here. Some weren’t. There’s just no accounting for taste eh?So, according to my research, the top records of 2013 are as follows:

1. Carcass – Surgical Steel (a clear winner with 13 votes)

2. Clutch – Earth Rocker and Windhand – Soma (both 8)

3. Black Sabbath – 13 (7)

4. Deafheaven – Sunbather, In Solitude – Sister, Motorhead – Aftershock, SubRosa – More Constant Than the Gods (6)

5. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury, Autopsy – The Headless Ritual, Avatarium – Avatarium, Beastmilk – Climax, Gorguts – Colored Sands, Kverlertak – Meir, Nails – Abandon All Life, The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – Mind Control (5)

In total, there were 331 different records on my list, many of which I know,many I don’t. But you can bet I’ll be looking forward to finding the ones I didn’t in the near future.

Autopsy were a band that I appreciated a lot more after their recent comeback records. Not that I disliked their older stuff, but until I heard 2011’s ‘Macabre Eternal’, I didn’t really appreciate how good a band they were. I understood their position as standard bearers for the earlier, rawer style of death metal, but only after I become enamoured of their new material did I truly understand their effect on the genre as a whole. ‘Macabre Eternal’ was that raw, slimy death metal style done better than anyone else, and ‘The Headless Ritual’ follows that up by doing everything that the previous record did well, but better.

Opener ‘Slaughter at Beast House’ begins as any Autopsy album does with a chainsaw riff, gurgling vocals and an instantly old school feeling. It’s pretty long at over six minutes, and does contain a slowed, doomy section in the middle in which Chris Reifert’s tortured growl is highlighted. ‘Mangled Far Below’ is such a classic Autopsy song that it’d fit perfectly onto ‘Severed Survival’ or ‘Mental Funeral’. This is pure 90s death metal, given a fresh 2013 twist. There’s nothing here that would surprise Autopsy fans that much, other than the (almost) death ballad of ‘She is a Funeral’. It’s almost straightforward death metal with a rocking chord progression, overlaid with some of Reifert’s greatest gurgling vocals.

One thing that has always stood out about the band though is the massive influence they’ve had on death/doom as a genre. ‘She is a Funeral’ is a great example of how doom Autopsy can be, and the vocals on ‘When Hammer Meets Bone’ are as low end, hell-scraping as you’ll hear. In fact, it is Reifert’s voice that highlights the whole record for me. He sounds like he’s gargling razorblades underwater, and it accentuates the gore drenched insanity that every Autopsy record brings. The macabre ‘Coffin Crawlers’ brings to mind any zombie movie you’ve ever seen, and the close of this track is one of my favourite moments. It’s pure doom, overlaid with spiralling solos and tortured howls. There’s nothing finer. ‘When Hammer Meets Bone’ combines two of Autopsy’s finest features; the barreling chainsaw death metal with eerie, slow malevolent doom. It’s my favourite song on the record.

Autopsy are not here to surprise you, nor are they here to disappoint you. Autopsy exist only to rip your face from your skull and piss in your dead eyesockets. With ‘The Headless Ritual’, they bring 45 minutes of the most reliably sick death metal you could’ve heard this year. Brutal.

Ten records that you must hear from 2013? TEN! Are you fucking kidding me…? There’s nothing like putting out what you feel is a definitive statement of your most memorable albums from the past year, then afterwards realising what a total cock you’ve been by forgetting some. I can’t do ten, I need to express more! So I’ve decided to put together a more comprehensive list, along with a one line reason why for each. These are in no particular order, but all are must hears:

Deafheaven – Sunbather (These guys carry on the legacy of Wolves in the Throne Room with epic black metal)

In Solitude – Sister (Heavy Metal hasn’t sounded this essential in years)

Watain – The Wild Hunt (A culmination of everything they’ve done right until now, writhing in black metal attitude)

Clutch – Earth Rocker (Because its fucking Clutch, that’s why)

Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam (Brutally precise, hugely influential, Suffocation show everybody once again how it is done)

Carcass – Surgical Steel (The perfect comeback album, savage, relentless, essential)

Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light (A startling entry of vicious tech death, brilliantly composed and executed)

Gorguts – Colored Sands (Mind bogglingly complex death metal, a record full of things that no-one else will do anywhere else. Flawless)

Sodom – Epitome of Torture (The old guard show that they still can thrash better than everyone else. Teutonic, titanic, triumphant)

Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (You don’t need to say anything about this man’s work, you simply need to hear it. Astonishing)

Autopsy – The Headless Ritual (Yet another great, no frills death metal rampage from these sick bastards)

Chthonic – Bu Tik (Taiwan’s finest return with yet another symphonic black metal masterpiece)

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth (The new darlings of death metal combine their finest elements to create something beyond special)

Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Not since Mastodon and Kylesa’s beginnings have a band captured the sludge/doom sound so vividly)

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury (The must hear end of a must hear career. Heart stoppingly poignant)

Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods (The Norsemen bring the melodies, the heavy, and the fist pumping Viking anthems)

Portal – Vexovoid (Simply put, this band make music that you cannot hear anywhere else)

Ghost BC – Infestissumam (Occult rock at its catchiest, most sinister and most mainstream)

Boris – Praparat (The Japanese shapeshifters move onwards and upwards, experimenting boldly and brilliantly)

Black Sabbath – 13 (The world waited with baited breath, and Ozzy and his crew gave them everything they could have wanted)

Kylesa – Ultraviolet (The sounds of one of my favourite bands moving beyond ‘Spiral Shadow’ into their own, comfortable sound. Great)

That is my current list, but I’ll no doubt remember another 10 later on. There have been so many new and great bands appearing this year that I haven’t mentioned, because I could probably just write and write about all the records I’ve enjoyed this year. But the ones above are the ones I have come back to the most, and therefore I feel to be the best representation of my 2013