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Mental Funeral

Autopsy - Mental Funeral ©1991 Peaceville
1. Twisted Mass Of Burnt Decay
2. In The Grip Of Winter
3. Fleshcrawl
4. Torn From The Womb
5. Slaughterhouse
6. Dead
7. Robbing The Grave
8. Hole In The Head
9. Destined To Fester
10. Bonesaw
11. Dark Crusade
12. Mental Funeral

With a name like "Autopsy," spelled out in a blood-dripping logo, there shouldn't be much doubt about what sort of music can be expected. This is death metal. It does, however, have some twists of its own. What you get is a mix of the early 90s American death metal style purveyed by bands like Deicide, mixed with some doom metal atmosphere and tempos reminding at times of bands like Candlemass and Winter. This could naturally result in one impressively trite and useless album, but quite the opposite is true. This is one of the truly supreme death metal albums of the early 90s. Everything from the guttural vocals, killer riffs and quite good song-structures fits together perfectly, making an album that truly stands as a single unit. The band won't really impress you with their instrumental prowess, but they get the job done very well. If anything, the album's atmosphere might have suffered if everyone played at a sterile precision.

The production here serves the album well. The instruments all sound very sludgy, like one big mass of a sound. The drums are given a bit sharper sound so there is no problem with them overpowering the twin-guitar attack. The riffs have a fair range, some being very Black Sabbath-like, whilst other go into some quite original riff-patterns that many modern-day death metal bands seem to be trying to mimic. Vocals are the basic, fairly guttural growls that are to be expected from the genre, but it is possible to make out most of the lyrics if one tries. The lyrics are, however, not much to be bragged about. The songtitles pretty much give you the idea of what to expect. Still, how can one possibly not be swooned by catchy rhymes like "Peel your flesh from the bone/Soulless body left alone"?

The closest comparison I can think of is Amorphis' Tales From the Thousand Lakes, but without the keyboards and the occational cheery melodic riffs that popped by every now and then on that album. The overall feeling of the album is quite similar though, with the way it feels like a death metal album, yet gives off the emotions of a doom metal album.

If you have even a remote interest in death metal you should definitely take the chance to pick up this album. It's not the most brutal or technical release out there, but it makes up for it by building one strong, almost overpowering nihilistic atmosphere. Mental Funeral indeed...

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 02/2001

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Acts of the Unspeakable

Autopsy - Acts of the Unspeakable ©1992 Peaceville
1. Meat
2. Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium
3. Your Rotting Face
4. Blackness Within
5. An Act Of The Unspeakable
6. Frozen With Fear
7. Spinal Extractions
8. Death Twitch
9. Skullptures
10. Pus/Rot
11. Battery Acid Enema
12. Lobotomized
13. Funereality
14. Tortured Moans Of Agony
15. Ugliness And Secretions
16. Orgy In Excrements
17. Voices
18. Walls Of The Coffin

Hi there! Do you like really ugly death metal with lots of slow, doomy parts interspersed with abrupt high-speed tempo shifts and lyrics about mutilating people and torturing them and songs with kind of crappy puns for titles such as "Skullptures" and "Funereality"? Great, so do I! As such, I love Acts Of The Unspeakable. Let's have lunch!

Okay, let me explain a few things here. First of all, when it comes to a death metal band like Autopsy, one must take for granted that, yes, the music is overwrought and pretty silly, and yes, you're not getting anything with respect to stylistic diversity (pretty much every one of these short eighteen songs contains the same sort of parts, just in a different order from track to track…and every part sounds equally dreary and hideous, whether they are fast or slow). So if it is catharsis, worldly insight, or something that will put anybody but a sweaty, wart covered, thirty-six year old metal head in the mood to have sex with you that you're looking for, you may want to look elsewhere.

With those qualifiers out of the way, Acts Of The Unspeakable is otherwise a fun, silly, crude slice of gore-torture (gorture?) metal, and my personal favorite of Autopsy's early releases; even if it's mainly due to the fact that for once, the bass doesn't sound like somebody strangling a fart in front of a microphone (unlike, say, the more celebrated Severed Survival). The tracks are shorter than before and there are more of them, but this is hardly an issue; the band continues to sound like a pack of masochistic sewer dwellers howling through a septic tank, only now the songs don't even have a chance to stick around and get boring. And sure, not every one of these numbers is exactly brilliant, but when a song only has a life span of two and a half minutes at most, who cares? There's always a new pack of little evil sludge riffs right around the corner to brighten your day, and in a genre where hookless trudges are all too common, Autopsy should be appreciated for having the foresight to consider brevity on this release.

Indeed, Acts Of The Unspeakable might make prog rock fans feel underwhelmed. Certain kinds of feminists may find offense in the lyrics. People who like albums that do more than one thing over and over again may raise an eyebrow incredulously. Me? I just turn up the semi-title track ("An Act Of The Unspeakable") and soak in Autopsy's mean, tar-paced riffing, angry little speedy bursts, and most importantly, their inspirational, humanitarian message. As such, I will close with a quote from the aforementioned title song:


…Look, it's not my fault that saying anything in an evil, phlegmed up Louis Armstrong voice automatically makes it sound funny. Or awesome. Or both.

Review by Hunter Brawer

Review date: 05/2010

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