Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Autopsy - The Tomb Within [EP]

Autopsy is known as one of the monsters of old school death metal (and death metal in general). When their 1987 demo, Stillborn was released, Autopsy’s music reached ears all across the world. After releasing two more extremely successful demo tapes, Autopsy released their long-awaited full-length debut, Severed Survival. With their popularity growing exponentially, Autopsy then released an album that is today known as one of the greatest death metal albums ever released, Mental Funeral. Still a bestseller today, Mental Funeral is ESSENTIAL for any metalhead’s death metal collection. I then noticed that the band’s focus and overall musicianship went sharply downhill with the following album, but that just made Acts of the Unspeakable an average death metal record; nothing special, but as another review said, “it’s still a good addition for the old death metal collection.”

But then everything about Autopsy and their music literally plummeted with their fourth album, Shitfun (take out the F, U, and the N and you have a pretty accurate description of the album). Some people keep asking what the hell happened to them?? Well, the second time I saw Vital Remains, I got in a conversation with their bassist (who was wearing an Autopsy shirt) and he was telling me how during the Mental Funeral days, Autopsy liked to bring Vital Remains on a lot of their tours as an opening act. He said that they were getting hammered and high pretty much after EVERY show; and he was telling me the immense amount of substances the Autopsy members were taking in and that he thinks that’s the reason why Autopsy went downhill so damn quickly.

After for what seemed like an eternity since the release of Shitfun, Autopsy released a five song EP (mainly directed towards critics, reviewing sites, zines, labels, etc.) to see if they could still make good old-fashioned classic death metal. The band wasn’t very concerned about sales of the album; they were more concerned about getting their name back in the air of the metal community. After several people leaked the EP all over the internet, millions of metalheads old and young were hearing it and almost instantly demanding a new full-length, which turned out to be Macabre Eternal. But I’m not here to talk about Macabre Eternal; I think that this EP is special in its own way and shouldn’t be turned down just because Macabre Eternal has more songs.

The talent and skill on this EP demonstrates realization, recovery, and HUGE improvement in ALL of the members. Even though the vocals in Autopsy’s first two albums are superb, I personally think that the changes in the sound of the vocalist’s growls make them sound a hell of a lot better in The Tomb Within. The vocals have less of a dry, raspy sound and much more of a guttural, wet sound; making them sound creepier and darker. The guitarists aren’t amazing, but they couldn’t be any more solid and couldn’t be any more perfect of a fit for this album. The guitar distortion is a really clean, fine sound that has the feeling of a simple saw blade rather than really rough sandpaper (like in Soulskinner by Fleshcrawl).

The drums are actually a lot better and more focused than on any of Autopsy’s albums. Not only are the drums more creative, but the abstract style that they follow give the music more of a death metal feel than a thrash metal feel (like in Mental Funeral and Severed Survival. This is one of my favorite death metal EPs along with Bloodbath’s Unblessing the Purity and Heresiae’s self-titled EP. This should be in EVERY death metal fan’s collection because although it’s an EP, it’s unique in its own way, I listen to it addictively, and I feel that it holds a very important place in death metal history as being Autopsy’s comeback record! I would give this 15/20.