Autopsy are Here for Your F*cking Head
Gore metal’s a funny thing. Do it right, and your band is hailed as providing the masses with all the indulgent violence they truly crave; fuck it up, and you’re part of the problem, some Jason Vorhees-blowing dumbass who has nothing better to do that dream about cutting up women. So in that respect, it can at times be easy to blow off Autopsy, the first and arguably the greatest gore metal band of them all. But what Autopsy has always excelled at is proving the point to gore metal, making it dynamic and crushing enough that to ignore it would be to pass on truly great metal. And on their latest album, the band does just that. Nuanced and interesting yet old-school and listenable, The Headless Ritual is—and Lord knows there’ll be hell to pay in the comments section for this—the best Autopsy album to date.
The most easily recognized differences between Headless and previous Autopsy albums are the speed and production. On the former, there’s a spring in the step of Chris Reiffert and Co.—this album brings a hard, unrelenting drive to every song that’s refreshing and a pleasure to listen to. Sure, there are still the looming, plodding Autospy breakdowns we’ve come to enjoy, with their mix of whinnying and groaning guitars, but even those have a direction, a vitality, to their sound. Tracks like opener “Slaughter at Beast House” and the penultimate slasher “Running From The Goathead” are steady, furious, kinetic. On the latter, there is a lushness in Cutler and Coralles’ guitar sound that immediately enraptures the ear, and it is perfectly balanced with the drums, bass, and vocals, giving The Headless Ritual a consistent and satisfying flow. The music is old-school, but the sound is more than that
As for the songs, well, fuck, where to begin. Each one has its own tone, its own take on gross humanity and classic horror. “Slaughter…” shreds, its central guitar solo haunting and malevolent. “She Is A Funeral” is a creeping terror, a dynamic mid-paced song that serves as a fully-realized version of “Dirty Gore Whore” from 2011’s Macabre Eternal. “Coffin Crawlers” sounds like its name, and showcases incredible guitar and bass lines. “Thorns and Ashes” and “Arch Cadaver” both manage to be deadly and somewhat melancholy, imbued with a kind of sick but very aware understanding of the death they touch upon. The closing instrumental track is a wild explosion of wild riffs and pure mortal panic. Those tracks unmentioned here are also incredible stand-alones, but none the less add to the album’s power; indeed, one can listen to The Headless Ritual over and over again in its entirety and love it more and more every time.
On their sixth full-length, Autopsy legitimize gore metal. Theirs is a consideration of death, anatomy, and fear that is made all the more awesome by the soulful, atmospheric music with which they back it up. While some may claim that The Headless Ritual lacks the rawness of, say, Shitfun or Mental Funeral, they’re just being fucking hipsters. This album is so damn entertaining and satisfying, it should be topping lists all over the web in December. This is more than simple murder music, this is gore as art, and it slays, totally and completely. Lose your fucking head.