Thursday, March 21, 2024

Autopsy - Morbidity Triumphant (2022)

I've gotten a little slack from friends in the past for stating Autopsy has never been one of absolute go-to acts in the death metal field, but I think it gets taken out of context. I've always liked the band, especially those first two albums, and appreciated the uglier, less filtered vision they brought to death metal, which has proven quite important in how many great bands it has influenced. In fact, apart from Shitfun, I think I've liked all of their studio albums, and since their resurgence with The Tomb Within EP, they've maintained one of the more consistent reunion streaks in all of the genre. In the 2020s, we're reaching a point where I'm actually starting to enjoy the material almost as much as the classics, and keep it in mind that this is happening while Chris and other members are busy with various other projects, like Static Abyss, which I might even enjoy more than the output of their mainstay!

Morbidity Triumphant is an aptly named, fun album which captures a lot of the magic of that late 90s to early 90s era, shifting between the gruesome traditional death metal and the passages of groovier riffs that fall more in line with doom or stoner metal. It genuinely feels like a sequel to Mental Funeral, down to how the songs are composed, the vocals are delivered, and to an extent the production, though Autopsy isn't about to turn its collective nose at the few studio advancements that help in its presentation, so it's a little bulkier sounding, with a solid heft to the rhythm guitars that sounds nice and gross when they throw in some more dissonant chords, and an honest, stripped lead tone that really helps deliver the burning and bluesy solos that often vomit forth from the twisted mass below. The drums are fairly simple, but again they have a nice, sincere mix and power to them that helps support the meat of the guitars, and Chris is obviously just as focused on the delivery of the vocals, which is second to none. He's always been one of the most distinct in the field because he understands the suffering and horror that should be inherent in immortalizing this style of overbearing, generic deathcore barking anywhere to be found.

The individual songs don't always blow me away, but there are a few memorable choices like the super groove of "The Voracious Ones", the dreary doom harmonies that inaugurate "Flesh Strewn Temple", or the incendiary grinding deathpunk of "Knife Slice, Axe Chop" which reminds me a lot of some of the stuff they'd been recording for their punkier EPs in recent years. "Skin by Skin" is another standout with that funereal, crawling doom intro that erupts into grinding, blasting death. It's a pretty good variety for Autopsy, one that the layman might ignore, but scratches most of the itches I'm feeling when I'm in the mood to crank one of their albums. Wes Benscoter's cover art is fucking awesome, that robe of stitched faces on the skeleton with the bleeding skull and thorny crown is unforgettable, and I lvoe how one of the guys with the removed face is actually helping stitching it, while another is defleshing more victims! A lot of sick though goes into something like this, and the fact it's in some graveyard and there's a tree upon which other victims are strung is just icing on the flesh-baked cake. He's been doing great for this band for most of their reunion period releases and this is no exception. A good album, right on the border of a great one, and I've probably spun this more than anything since Mental Funeral.

Verdict: Win [8/10]

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