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So after my last review, I listened to this album again, and realised it isn't all that similar to Waking The Cadaver beyond the breakdowns and pig squeals. Nay, this is more like Despised Icon attempting to play slam.
The album starts with an unnecessary intro, and launches straight into personal highlight Keeper of the Plaguelands. Already vocalist Regan is greeting us with a vicious screech before changing to a meaty low growl. This track contains one of the catchiest gang shouts in metal history with "THESE CORPSES...ARE MINE!". You'll find yourself chanting that to yourself later.
And that song pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album. Regan using throat shredding screeches and pig squeals and meatier grunts and growls. The guitarists play so many breakdowns that it becomes impossible to count, but the breakdowns are more slam based in their structure and simplicity and are more importantly heavy as shit. The album also has one or two solos (in Years of Disgust for example), which are reasonably well played, but could've been used more often to score a few extra points.
The bass is actually audible, surprisingly, and it sounds deep, chunky and doesn't just follow the guitars. The drummer is also a competent musician, using a wide variety of fills and blasts to complement the groove from the guitars.
The album contains a slow interlude called "The Childsnatcher". The only real purpose it serves it to take away from the brutality for a couple of minutes, and could've been easily left out.
There is also a redo of a track from the god-awful debut EP, Welcome To Sludge City, which has been shortened to just Sludge City and has been improved by replacing those inhaled slurps with legit growls and high screeches. Who knew a small change like that could make one song so much better?
Lyrical content is over the top silly gore, ranging from misogynistic tales of perverted sex ("Sick and tired of fucking whores, now i'm trying sodomy with saws, let's see how pretty she is with her arsehole ripped to bits" from Sludge City) to wastelands of death and destruction ("The ghastly sight of blood and entrails leaves my mark across the land. Warning signs for those who appose to show them who's the man" from Keeper of the Plaguelands). It's not brilliant stuff, but for a band of this type it works perfectly.
Overall, a solid album filled with fun tracks that bring out your inner idiot. This is hardly intelligent, well-made music. Perhaps more solos and less breakdowns would've seen this album score a considerably higher score from me, but for what it is, it is a very heavy and fun album. If you're a fan of brutal death metal and/or deathcore, I see no reason for you not to enjoy this.
Highlights: Keeper of the Plaguelands, Prosthetic Erection, Years of Disgust, Sludge City
Ah, Annotations of an Autopsy before turning into a generic modern death metal band or an Emmure-like chug fest. Just some good ol' filthy fun. Why do I like this you ask? It's simple. It's fun. Just for the reasons many people that listen to Waking the Cadaver, or hell, most music, is because it sounds good. It doesn't have to be technical or too brutal, just fun. But beneath the sludgy veil of fun, there lies the potential for originality and deathcore. Gasp! Original deathcore? That must be an oxymoron, the kvltists and metal "veterans" might say.
But even for a bland (mostly) genre like deathcore there's a messiah. Is AOAA the messiah? No, that's Hester Prynne, and they've lost the chance with Dark Days. But AOAA is close to fusing sludge metal with deathcore, and the results are quite pleasing because BTTOI is catchy, doomy, creepy, and disgusting. Although not bereft of breakdowns (the infamous bane of most deathcore), the breakdowns present on this album are enough to fulfill anyone. Might be a tad too much for the average anti-deathcore Joe, but it's enough for me. Good riffs and a great drummer would be in the limelight if it's not for the vocalist. Perhaps the most negative aspect of this album is the vocalist with his obnoxious pig squeals and inhaled screams. He has a couple of nice growled moments, but they're rare. The bass here sounds like at some sort of a dubstep song with all these bass drops. Nevertheless, it all fits in a strange, weird, and sometimes bizarre way. Lyrically this is not Shakespeare or Pushkin; it's an angsty adolescent's view on how he will treat the girl that hung his underwear on a flagpole, brutal mutilations, cunt beating sessions, and the like.
Overall, while not special, it's a good mix between some sludge, brutal death metal, and metalcore. While the beloved purists will despise this and spew extreme scorn upon it, those more open to deathcore may like it. I know I do. It's better than their generic take on modern death metal.
Since deathcore has existed it has been disliked (for the most part) by fans of extreme metal. Deathcore is notorious for its breakdowns, which seem to be apparent on almost every deathcore song. Deathcore is sometimes accused of not being "true metal", and for good reason. The genre is heavy, but how heavy the music is doesn't neccessarily determine if it's metal. Nevertheless, Annotations of An Autopsy is generally considered metal, despite being deathcore. Interested in what the band had to offer, I decided to give this album a chance.
The album has good production quality. Musically, however, it isn't good. It's almost as if the band members would rather hide behind speed and distortion instead of playing something that sounds good. At the surface the songs sound good, but after a while they become dull. "The Childsnatcher", which is an electro acoustic instrumental, is the most unique song on the album. It's a bit out of place for a deathcore album. Despite being out of place, it actually makes the album better. There are a few interesting/memorable sections. Two sections that stand out are the intro riffs to "Human Dust" and "Before the Throne of Infection". Near the one minute mark in the latter track there is also a legatto riff that is done really well. Other than that, the album is boring.
Interestingly enough, the guitars are the highlight of the album. Occasionally a unique riff is introduced. Palm mutes are over-used. The vocals aren't unique, interesting, or captivating. Depsite the vocals being uninteresting, they are at least diverse. Occasional clean vocals are used. The track "Sludge City" features the most memorable clean vocals. Sadly, it isn't because they are done well. They are memorable simply because of their shock value. "She bled from every fucking hole" is the line specifically.
The album would be better if it wasn't as repetitive and monotonous. The tracks sound very similar. When played in the order that they appear on the album, (or any order, really) the songs don't distinguish from each other. This, other than not being musically sound in the first place, is the biggest problem for the album.
Before the Throne of Infection is not interesting. It is not unique. It is not memorable. It is not technical. It doesn't even have diversity (besides the vocals and, "The Childsnatcher"). However, it does have a few interesting sections. It does have good production quality, and it does have cool album artwork. Unfortunately, that is not enough to result in a successful album, especially in a genre like metal.
Deathcore has received a significant amount of animosity from the metal community, particularly for its breakdowns and its affiliation with scene kids. I wanted to look at the genre in a more open view, so I bought a CD set containing three deathcore CDs, called Total Breakdown and one of them contained Annotation of An Autopsy’s Before the Throne of Infection.
Before even listening to the CD, I read the lyrics and thought, "Fuck, these guys are pulling off a Waking the Cadaver," with the immature, misogynistic content. Lines like "She bled from every fucking hole" and "sew my cock in your cunt so we're eternally fucking" sum up my disgust for this kind of shit. And while there are some instances of actually good, albeit simple, lyrics that don't follow that topic, the majority of the album is covered with these immature lyrics.
But rest assured; musically, this is far better than WTC. The guitars are the most prominent instruments on the album with quite a lot of palm-muted riffs which, while they are uninspired, are generally enjoyable to listen to. This is mostly due to the bass-heavy production, which significantly beefs the guitar sound up. However, when the guitarists pull off tremolo picked riffs, they sound too typical as far as deathcore goes. The bass and drums feel like they're just there to add rhythm and they actually sound pretty thin in the mix compared to the guitars.
Before the Throne of Infection, like many deathcore albums, features frequently use of breakdowns. In AOAA's case, they are pretty straightforward without sounding overly groovy, gimmicky, or contrived. What I like is that they tend to blend in rather than fuck up the flow of the songs.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the dark clean-guitar driven instrumentals, Rise of the Leviathan and The Childsnatcher, that's pretty much all you'll hear from the instrumentation. The riffs from every song sound too identical to each other, a problem I have with most deathcore bands, making it a forgettable experience (unless you've listened to it a lot on a daily basis). Another problem is that there is no build-up in the song structures and the mood is the same throughout. It feels like you're watching a climatic scene in a movie and it lasts for the entirety of the film.
Final thing worth mentioning is AOAA’s vocalist, Steve Regan. Now, he’s a bit more tolerable than some other deathcore or slam death metal bands that use pig squeals, but that’s not really saying much. He can pull off some gutturals that actually sound like he’s being ripped apart and there are some fun moments where he’s performing death growls. However, other instances where he’s pig squealing sounds generic. But the worst style Steve uses is his chanted gang vocals, sounding as if wannabe scene jocks were chanting the lyrics. Thankfully, Steve doesn't use that vocal style that much.
Annotation of An Autopsy’s Before the Throne of Infection does have its moments to shine, but it suffers from major setbacks that strongly hurt the album, so I can't really recommend it to anyone.
Let the negativity commence! What better to start with than Annotations of an Autopsy? Deathcore really isn't a total failure of a genre. I dig the first Whitechapel album, the new Job for a Cowboy pleased me as well. What's wrong with this album? It's dull and uninspiring. Why's that? Let us examin this carcass of an album (though, it'd be nice if it was a CARCASS album instead!)
Every now and then you'll get a cool riff. Something heavy and catchy that I can do a little headbobbing to. A good example is in 'Human Dust'. It's not a complete failure of a song, as it shows they have atleast an ounce of ability to write music. What disgusts me is that the track right after makes me want to shove a q-tip into my ear. It's that 'JUMP DA FUCK UP!' sound that many deathcore bands suffer from. It reminds me of what the nu-metal tried to do at their shows to get the crowd riled up. I just can't get into the sound of this band, purely because it's too boring.
What's so boring, you might ask? An endless sea of breakdown chugging that would make a scene kid jizz his pants. Sure, that might sound like heaven to a scene kid, but i'm not a scene kid. It just gets old fast, and when you get bored a few songs in, the CD fails. I like the tone of the instruments being played, they're just not being played the correct way. The drummer is particularly good at doing a few fills here and there, as well as his pedal work. Though even on top of that, the vocals really ruin anything really positive about the album. The lows aren't too horrid, but they have no life to them. He sounds like he could be bored, just sitting there on stage. The pig squeels are my main beef, they're horrendous. Very screechy, distinctly hardcore, and blatantly horrible. The cleans in 'Sludge City' and 'Fisted to the Point of Regurgitation' are also of facepalm quality.
The 10% comes from a few things. As I said in my first paragraph, you'll get a few good riffs. Not enough to save a full length albums, but a few that make you wish they'd expand. The production is nice, everything is mixed accordingly, but it just helps you hear how bad they are. There's my explanation for where the 10% comes from. Without those few things, this would probably be a 0% from me. Annotations of an Autopsy is a good ride if you're looking to the more -core oriented music. I wasn't looking for that ride so I was left to walk home.
Pit-friendly brutal death metal with numerous core instances. While it's doesn't even scrape the heights of retardation the preceding EP, Welcome To Sludge City did, it's still incredibly predictable and bland. To be honest, I've never had much problem with the "pig squeal" vocals, as some of my favorite acts have used them prior to the deathcore boom, and I was a little irritated that the band's supposedly more mature take on their sound included completely removing them from the rotary. To me at least, this just seemed like "selling out" to the elitist factions who fucking loathed their debut in order to appear more credible. Whatever, though.
As I stated before, the music is still highly moshable, but in a more traditional brutal death metal fashion, as opposed to the New Yawk hardcore slam bullshit they previously employed. In other words, they now sound more like a brain damaged Suffocation clone than a death metal Madball cover band. The drumming is generic as fuck, and the vocal patterns are just uninspired streams of singularity with evil, brootal group vocals thrown in for maximum discomfort. The group stays at midpace throughout, and... honestly, I can't think of anything else to say about this group. They do produce a shitload of t-shirt designs. Yep.
Avoid this bullshit and pick up Effigy Of The Forgotten and Pierced From Within instead. Or a dead, festering woodchuck carcass from the side of the highway.
The choice is yours.
Annotations Of An Autopsy sort of pulled a Job For A Cowboy in their EP to LP move, dropping the majority of their metalcore sound in favor of a more straightforward approach to modern brutal death metal. Unlike Job For A Cowboy, however, Annotations Of An Autopsy were pretty good at the deathcore thing, so the loss of the metalcore elements doesn't come entirely to the relief of the listening populace. The new stuff is still good, though; that is, if you like modern brutal death metal with a touch of -core infiltrating the sound. While there aren't really 'breakdowns' anymore, you can still clearly hear how this is brutal death metal for a -core crowd. Your enjoyment of this will largely depend on how much you can stomach that idea. I don't really mind it, so I think it's a fun album.
Annotations Of An Autopsy plays that sort of -core-brushed brutal death metal with an epic aesthetic, again much like newer Job For A Cowboy. But instead of the Behemoth worship that our ignominiously treated American friends like to exercise, Annotations Of An Autopsy is moderately more unique in style, particularly in the guitar department, which sees fit to burst out with vast yet dissonant, almost Meshuggah-inspired guitar solos along with a variety of riffing styles. Vocals are a shout-expressed growl without much to recommend for it; in music with such a dramatic presence I would expect a little bit more, but maybe it's an attempt to make the subject matter more palatable to a metalcore crowd. I find that it gets dwarfed by the ridiculously overblown production on this album, with its nine hundred-tracked guitars and stupidly thundering double bass and almost non-stop bass drops. Speaking of double bass, though, the drum performance on this release is commendable: fast, grooving, and nicely fitting the style of the music. Throw the Toshi art on it and you have an album that's silly but still enjoyable in its silliness.
While I still have my angry face on because the band chose not to re-record the mighty 'Gore Gore Gadget' for this album, the selection of tracks on display is pretty solid; fan classic 'Sludge City' with its chanted vocals (that appear on a couple other tracks as well) benefits from the slightly altered riffs and fuller production. 'Keeper Of The Plaguelands' is a very good opener (after the meaningless opening instrumental, of course) with dramatic riffing and and sort of gradually unfolding late Behemoth-style grandiosity. 'Fisted To The Point Of Regurgitation' has a title that doesn't give the song a chance to possibly live up to, but it still manages to be pretty good despite being dwarfed by its moniker. 'Years Of Disgust' is also a very solid one, with bass drops galore and Waking The Cadaver-inspired tremolo riffing. The rest of the album is sort of middling but still listenable even at its worst. I guess you could accuse it of being unremarkable with more or less an accurate sentiment. This isn't really music that's about being remarkable anyway though.
Really I'm sort of split on my feelings towards this album, because while it's enjoyable on a primitive level, it lacks everything in the way of depth. When the band DOES try to go for depth it's comical, like on the admirable but awkward and sad acoustic interlude 'The Childsnatcher'. I get the idea they're going for, but it's not enough that I can see what you're trying to do; you have to do some of the legwork yourself. My imagination only goes so far. It's good music, but only from a sort of shallow perspective; if I want something with more depth, there's a LOT of bands out there who are just as good and manage to infuse a little bit more meaning into their music. It could be dumb of me to expect that from a brutal death metal band, but either this is lacking something or my inherent pretense can only rationalize so much. It's well composed and performed, but I wish they'd gone a bit further.
ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY are a band that is generally hated by every "true" metal fan out there. But since I am in a "core" band, playing drums, my bandmates are always talking about core bands. And even though I mostly only listen to black or death metal some deathcore or metalcore comes in between.
But when I was talked into listening to a band called ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY I almost dropped the core case for good. Their EP "Welcome To Sludge City" (2007) is horrible. Together with WAKING THE CADAVER (awful band!) AOAA was really falling down my ranks.
But when I heard they were releasing and full-length I got interested by some reason and checked it out. What I found out at that time was that AOAA had potential!
I mean sure, there are inhale pig squeals and there are group shoutings and the record are so stuffed with breakdowns so you can't even count them. But still it is a good record.
The vocalist Steve Reagan has changed his vocal approach a bit. Meaning that instead of inhaling as a pig all the time he actually does some real low-pitched growling and doing it good! The high-pitch vocals one the other hand... You can put it this was: he has a bit of work left to be done before you can count the high-pitch as good.
Musically the record are good. Maybe not technical as hell or not fast as lightning for that matter but still pretty good. The songs are catchy and sometimes you find yourself shouting in the group shouts. And that has to be a good sign for the record. The drums are pretty well performed with some pretty sweet blastbeats and doublebass journeys.
They even re-recorded the song "Sludge City" who was originally released on their EP and who knew that a simple face-lift on that song could make it that much better.
Overall "Before The Throne Of Infection" are definitely not for everyone but if you like deathcore with a touch of grindcore/death metal you will find what you are looking for in this album.
A huge step forward for a band I thought was lost! WELL DONE!