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I’m sure there are many people here that review only stuff they like. But I’m not one of them, because I believe every album deserves to be reviewed, either because of good things or because of the bad ones. Well, this EP definitely deserves to be bashed, it’s just that bad.
A few reviewers before me stated that this band actually released a death metal album, or at least album with deathcore that actually approaches death metal. However, if you were to hear this EP first (or only, as in my case), you wouldn’t get such an impression. Instead, you would get an impression that the band started out as an Emmure tribute band. Yeah, you read that right, Annotations of an Autopsy’s Dark Days EP sounds a lot like pretty much all material released by Emmure. This really kills all the desire to even bother checking out this band’s earlier material, does it not?
Structurally, the tracks sound awfully similar to Emmure. We get the same type of riffs and a whole bunch of breakdowns and spewed vocals. That’s right, the vocalist sounds more like someone vomiting that being a death metal vocalist. There are also gang shouts in many places. What we don’t get here is someone sounding like Fred Durst, but everything here is already abominable as it is, so I have no idea how much that would change anything.
Lyrically, the band tries to show how ‘badass’ the members are. But, we get a case of ‘Waking the Cadaver’ disease: ideawise and in the band’s mind, the lyrics are ‘tough’ and ‘badass’, but actually end up being retarded. Come on, ‘so suck my fucking dick’, seriously? That’s the best Annotations of an Autopsy could come up with? Stupid and angsty teenagers might find this cool and whatnot, but I really do not. No wonder many people hate deathcore (or nu-deathcore, in this case).
As the last nail in the coffin, all four tracks sound pretty much, if not exactly the same. You don’t even have to hear any track after the first track, Buried in a Bad Rep, it’s enough to hear that one (if you manage to survive it, of course) and you know how the rest of the EP will sound.
One Emmure is already too much, but two of those? I would have to make up new words to precisely describe how terrible that situation is. But I don’t feel like being a linguist. Instead, I’ll keep it short and say this EP should not be listened to under any circumstances. There is simply nothing good to be heard here. Sheesh, even Emmure came up with (slightly) more tolerable moments; the fact that their stuff is otherwise completely unlistenable is another matter. No points for this abomination.
So basically Annotations of an Autopsy made a debut in their career offering a steady deathcore sound complete with slam riffs, breakdowns, the occasional gang shout vocals, guitar solos, slimy vocals; growls, screeches and pig squeals and from there on they went even better; releasing a full-fledged death metal album titled II: The Reign of Darkness, but alas their hayday was short-lived. Annotations of an Autopsy played their last show in January of 2013 and their last release was honestly their worst one. And by worst, I mean a very, very, very, VERY bad release.
You know you're looking at something gone horribly wrong when early promo photographs of the band have them looking like normal dudes bearing death metal shirts and goatees (nothing wrong there) but then move onto them posing in front of the camera with gold chains, white t-shirts and smiles all around. That's an exact perfect snapshot of how horrible AOAA went down the shitter with this EP.
The EP is a terrible Emmure clone, and that's saying something really bad considering Emmure aren't even that bad of a band when you're looking for nu metal influenced metalcore to get high or go on a drive with, but this EP acts as if it's Emmure injected with methamphetamine; it's a mess to say the least. The EP is a horrible display of chug riffs, overused gangshout vocals and embarrassing lyrics ("so suck my fucking dick") to a very extent on why I ask on how they could even do this to themselves. Annotations of an Autopsy put out a nice little EP, full-length and then an even better album and then went straight lower than they could possible go with this. The opening track "Buried in a Bad Rep" pretty much confirms (within the first 30 seconds) that they drastically changed their style. Not even Regan's vocals sound the same. Most of the riffs are booming chugs (textbook Emmure technique), and horrible brocore "we don't give a fuck we run this town" lyrics. No concept, nothing. Even when the band wrote about gore, sodomy and violence, they had more passion than these lyrics.
Proceeding song "Reznov" is even worse. The intro is acceptable; tight riffs backed by a few blast beats but once the vocals comes in, that's where it gets all ruined once again. The music compliments Regan's horrible new grunting vocal style... and in retrospect the repetitive use of gang shouts also destroy the song. "Stage Breaker" takes the whole cake of bad, it focuses on even more on gang shouts, chugging and terrible lyrics. If I could use one song to describe how bad this band went down, it would be this song.
Annotations of an Autopsy are trend-hoppers. Most people nowadays enjoy eight-stringed guitars, sub -drops and breakdowns and that's exactly what this EP is. Upon the release of II: The Reign of Darkness, they were trying to bring in the old school death metal fans and with Before the Throne of Infection they were attracting the attention of bree-bree scene kids. They can't and will never please all of their fans with one album. The band are fools who changed the whole look, idea and sound of their band with each release until they disbanded years later. It really is a shame that they went out on such a shameful, embarrassing note.
Frequent readers of MetalSucks.net will know of frequent contributor Sergeant D, who in addition to writing for the website also maintains his own site known as Stuff You Will Hate. A couple years back on Stuff You Will Hate, Sergeant D brought to the attention of the internet metal crowd an Australian outfit by the name of Endworld. Their song "Never Trust", and the corresponding (terrible) music video, became showcase pieces for how not to write a song, how not to make a music video, and basically how not to be a brodowncore scenester douchebag. The title of the post containing Endworld's ode to creative bankruptcy was "When your deathcore band is the shitty version of Defiler", referencing yet another brodowncore scenester douchebag brigade comprised of levels of suck previously thought unheard of in "heavy" music. I'm fairly certain Annotations of an Autopsy, Great Britain's worst export since Heil Honey, I'm Home, saw the video and, in a haze brought on by a combination of too much weed and too few brain cells, said to themselves, "Hey, ya know that moderately enjoyable death metal album we made with Erik Rutan a couple years back? Fuck that shit, brah, that didn't have enough slams in it! Let's completely throw that sound out and make something so stereotypically 'bro' that not even other scenesters will like it!" And that's exactly what they fucking did.
I know many will cry afoul at an absolute negative score of zero percent, just like many cry similarly afoul at a score of one hundred percent, but in the case of Dark Days there is no other score that fits the sheer lack of anything creative, original, interesting, listenable, or smart in this EP's 18 or so minutes of aural sodomy. There are only four songs, but every single one of them run together 99.99998% of the time. Every slam, every chuggachugga breakdown, every lame attempt at sounding "brutal" sounds exactly like the one that just came before it. This is an album built upon the false idea that more slamming = more brutal. Sorry to break it to you Emmure wannabes, but playing mid-tempo range chugging with a production quality tailor made to make you sound as heavy as possible is not brutal. God of Emptiness is both brutal and haunting. Cannibal Corpse is brutal. Dark Days is not brutal. Dark Days does not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as "brutal". Each song, while being incredibly stupid as a whole, has its own standout moment where you just pause your audio player and facepalm as hard as you possibly can. The pinnacle moment of stupidity in this regard comes on the very first track, "Buried in a Bad Rep"; at about :57 we hear a choir of gang vocal bros shout in the lamest, most uninterested manner possible, "SO SUCK MY FUCKING DICK!". It's moments like this that really make me wonder why it had to be Chuck Schuldiner and Quorthon that died young. We really need them nowadays. The second song, Reznov, is memorable only in that its first 45 seconds represent that .000001% of something different through being the only segment of the album not to be a mid-tempo chugging groove. These 45 seconds, while still incredibly uninspired and uninteresting, are the only link this EP has to AOAA's former speedy roots, after which it descends into more endless chuggalugg grooving. The album's title track is literally so nondescript that I cannot remember a single thing about it beyond it being the title track, and the final track, "Stage Breaker", is only memorable due to most of that song's vocals being the wimpy gang shouts that have dominated this entire record; it's overkill on the final track though, as not one section goes by without some kind of gang shout. The only member of the band that's stayed around past the Erik Rutan album is the singer, whose name I forget and will from here on refer to as Fatty McStupidHat. His voice has degenerated past the point of no return, going from bland yet usable on the previous album to just being a Johnny Plague ripoff. All the instrumentalists here are new, the last album's death metal lineup all gone, and there's nothing that can be said about their performances here.
Then there are the lyrics. It's brocore, so of course the lyrics are gonna be big, dumb, and stupid, but they are taken to a new level of "no human being with an ounce of brain matter in their skulls would say this stuff without a hint of irony". There's the aforementioned hilariously piss poor "SO SUCK MY FUCKING DICK!" gang shout from the first song, but each song contains such mind numbingly retarded lyrics that you have got to wonder if whoever wrote them has some sort of severe mental defect. As you could probably tell, the EP drops the gore themes that the band's early material contained, as well as the mad apocalyptic ravings of The Reign of Darkness. In their place is brocore posturing so asinine and juvenile that not even Winds of Plague's latest disasterpiece could top it. The word "fuck" is the word of the day for AOAA, being used 27 times throughout the EP's 18:27 run time, showing perfectly that AOAA have both run out of song ideas and run out of the necessary supply of oxygen needed for proper brain functions. The worst offending passage on the record is in Stage Breaker. Read at your own risk.
My dying words to the world would be
all you pricks tryna run your mouth
My dying words to the world would be
and if you think i respect you
Fuck yo too
Clearly somebody was dropped off a fourth floor balcony when they were a tot. The only other way one could write something so magnificently brainless is if they happened to be a member of HellYeah or Five Finger Death Punch.
In the end, we can only stop to reflect on the pure fermented anal leakage that is Dark Days. The fact that the EP's title is bringing to my head the chorus of Satyricon's "Black Crow of a Tombstone" is a crime against humanity. Not because of the Satyricon song, as that song is both genuine and an actually good song, but because it's forcing me to equate one of Norway's black metal kings with the UK's musical equivalent to rectal cancer. Thank whatever invisible sky creature you pray to that Annotations of an Autopsy have decided to call it quits, as I'm not sure this realm of existence could take another Dark Days, or for that matter, another Emmure clone. Let this be a warning to all prospective musical artists, instrumentalists, singers, vocalists, or otherwise inclined to an audio medium: do not make the mistakes Annotations of an Autopsy made with Dark Days. You might just end up as a post on a website under the title, "When your deathcore band is the shitty version of Endworld".
Let me start off by saying that I'm a big fan of Emmure. Like many of the slam bands I fancy, they're great stupid music, and while I'm not going to listen to them expecting Atheist-esque progressive sections or anything remotely resembling intellect, they know how to pull off catchy breakdowns better than anyone else (and are apparently the only ones who know how to make entire songs out of said breakdowns) and basically sate my need for poppy music. I'm even a fan of the band's recent works, and their alleged break from form, Felony, happens to be my favorite work by the band. Despite the relative simplicity of their work, it seems that Emmure are the only ones who can actually pull off their own sound, and Annotations of an Autopsy's EP Dark Days just reinforces this point even more.
I haven't heard this band's second album (not yet, at least), but if the rumors about it being death metal are true (I say "rumors", because the "death metal" album Before the Throne of Infection turned out to be deathcore), it seems like Annotations of an Autopsy have taken a relatively large stylistic leap for the second time in their career. I've only listened to Welcome to Sludge City in any detail, and that EP most certainly stomps this one into the ground.
Despite what someone who associates Emmure with being hanged, drawn and quartered might tell you, the main problem with Dark Days is not its inherent Emmure influence. Nay: in fact, I'd say the problem is that there isn't enough Emmure here. The primary influence appears to be Emmure, sure, but there are elements cut-and-pasted from practically any deathcore band you could think of here: chugs from Emmure, the chant vocals of old AOAA, blast sections picked up from Thy Art Is Murder, distant guitar melodies from Oceano, and the riffs of Carnifex. Though there's nothing really bad about any of these elements (except for the chant vocals and chugs), the end result is the feeling that Annotations of an Autopsy really can't decide what the fuck they even want to do anymore, and to make it worse, these elements are spread unevenly among the songs. I'd hardly be able to tell that these four tracks were from the same band did they not all have the same vocals and production job.
The problem with the Emmure-esque breakdowns can be traced to both the actual riffs and the production job. For one, the chugs don't really "bounce" like Emmure's - instead, they push onwards with a variety of beats, be it a blasting double-bass or a simple rocking cymbal-snare beat. But THAT'S NOT HOW EMMURE DO EMMURE AND IT'S NOT HOW YOU SHOULD DO EMMURE EITHER. Assuming AOAA aren't fucking retarded, I can probably guess the reason that this album's drum beats aren't catchy pairs of 16th kicks packed around each guitar note - because those don't transition well to the next section of song, especially if you're not going to make your next riff another breakdown. But that takes a lot of power out of the breakdowns, and if your breakdowns aren't catchy, well shit, you might as well become a full-on death metal band at that point. Production-wise, the album is thick, but relatively devoid of bass. This is suicide for any band even remotely near Emmure musically. Where are the bass drops and thumpy sections that would drive a moshpit to destroy itself? And for that matter, where are the horror chords and nu-metal tinged sections? And why are the songs all more than four minutes long, instead of averaging around 2:30? It feels like Annotations of an Autopsy only brought as much Emmure to their game as they thought they needed to gain a larger audience. Boo.
The vocals are, frankly, really fucking bad. I'm a big fan of AOAA's vocals on past albums, but this is just sad, not to mention the victim of more mix-and-matching. This album has barky, try-hard angry shouts, and the concept itself is fine, but shouts of this quality shouldn't be reaching my ears at all unless I go to YouTube and type in "Emmure vocal cover true-azz nigga shit straight outta Compton". On the more blatantly Emmure tracks (those being the first and last), there are a few poorly synchronized gang shouts that are slightly more pleasant than getting a splinter in your bare foot and spending the next hour peeling flesh away to pull it out. There are also these ridiculously out-of-place self-musing groans, similar to Lamb of God or Pantera. I'll give AOAA the benefit of the doubt here and assume that Phil Anselmo simply kept walking in and interrupting their vocal takes in the studio, because I refuse to accept that a band that recorded such a nice little EP at one point would resort to such impertinent vocals. First and foremost in quantity, though, are the aforementioned shouts, that so obviously sound like an attempted ripoff of Frankie Palmeri that they might have as well credited him with the vocals on Dark Days.
The opening of "Reznov" has a decent chuggy riff backed up by a slow but catchy blast beat, and I'd be gladly listening to Dark Days if the entire EP was based around that section, but it's not - it's based around trying to rip off as many pieces of Emmure as possible and then superglue them to their collage made out of more ripped-off pieces from totally different bands. But, as reason would suggest, it's ridiculously stupid putting toast and used tampons together on a canvas and trying to make a masterpiece out of it. I'd cry sellout here, but fuck it, I like Felony, for God's sake; and it feels so redundant to trash such a stupid half-assed blend of music for the artists' intentions, anyways.
This EP was made for Emmure fans, and I love Emmure and hate this, so yeah, it's pretty shit.
So. AoAA. Started off as a br00t4l deathcore band and released a terrible EP that had potential. They capitalised on this potential and made a fun little album full of breakdowns, pig squeals and gang shouts. Then they decided to "mature" and make straightforward death metal a la Job For A Cowboy. The latter, titled "II: The Reign of Darkness" was well received by critics and metalheads alike. History lesson over.
As a fan of both full-lengths, I was excited when I heard about them making an EP. When I first heard Stage Breaker, my jaw dropped. It started off with your typical breakdown taken directly from an Emmure album (Any of them. They all the sound the same). Nonetheless, they assured me and everyone else who was disappointed that it was the least breakdown-oriented track, so I remained excited, albeit, not as much. When I finally got the whole thing, I was shocked, in the bad way.
This is ultra cliched boring as fuck deathcore. The EP begins with Buried In A Bad Rep. It trundles along at snail pace. The much despised inhaled slurping from the very first EP is back, albeit not used quite as much as on that release. The main vocal style here is hardcore shouting. That's right. Regan now sounds like Jamey Jasta on a 20 a day habit. Halfway through, we are treated to a gang shout. "So suck my fucking dick". How nice.
The rest of the EP is much of the same. Reznov (which I believe is named after a Call of Duty character) features generic deathcore buildup4abreakdown structure, Dark Days is some kind of attempt at a sludgy track, but it fails so miserably and Stage Breaker only consists of breakdowns and lyrics about how much Regan hates the world.
AoAA don't help their case by being so butthurt about the bad reviews. Claiming not to have enjoyed the death metal scene and much preferred the hXc-dancing br00t4l kiddie scene, it seems they're trying too hard to fit in with different crowds. What's next? Trying to appeal to the NME crowd and going indie? The end result is "Disappointment of the Year 2011". Absolute shit.
Annotations of an Autopsy started out as a deathcore band, playing fairly generic core with added pig squeals. Then they made the move into death metal which I fully approved of, The Reign of Darkness, although not groundbreaking, was a decent tech death release and showed that these guys had the ability to write some fairly solid music.
This is why the release of this Ep leaves me feeling very confused. The album itself is a 4 track Ep and after their previous release anyone would expect this to be a straight up death metal release, well they would be way off. This Ep is 4 tracks of bro core style hardcore and is a complete U turn from their last release.
Musically this is nothing more than a chug fest, the guitars rarely doing anything else and when they do it is often just a random chord. The bass is completely inaudible throughout the whole album, though I suspect it is doing the same as the guitars. Again the drums seem to play the same beat throughout the whole release. The vocals are a mix of low pitched growls and the all so common chant.
The only explanation I can come up with is the band was in a car crash and sustained head trauma which lessened their musical talent. Honestly unless you are a member of the bro club I implore you to stay away from this pathetic attempt at gaining a new fan base.
After listening to their previous album, I thought that Annotations Of An Autopsy would have some good potential. I was wrong. Dark Days, the EP that had me thinking that it would be just as good as the previous album when in reality it was just plain sloppy and unprofessional. The lyrics are just plain boring and unoriginal, the vocals have turned to crap and everything else has just gone down the shitter. It seems that AOAA have gone back to their deathcore roots, which was expected, however it's still quite unfortunate. Such potential, such promise with their death metal album, and they just toss it all away.
I'll admit the fact that this album did have some good grooves to it, that is until the breakdowns showed up. When will people learn that deathcore isn't metal, but more of an imitation, "fake metal" if you will. Anyways, the vocals really did turn to shit, period. Sure, the vocalist ditched his constant "bree-ing" (from the album "Before the Throne of Infection"), but the vocals on this EP aren't any better, there's nothing stellar about it and it basically sounds like a bear with a scrotum injury. All in all, they weren't executed professionally.
Next, the song titles. They're all fine and good, except one that is titled "Reznov", what the fuck is this? Call of duty black ops? With a title like that then you know for a fact that this band needs to wake the fuck up and smell the virgin blood, this isn't metal at all. Then again, who am I to judge? It's not about the titles, it's about the music and quite frankly the music is just plain bad. Why? Well look at it this way, the vocals have gone bad as mentioned above, the guitars are very out of tune and flat, to sum it up: this EP sounds very unprofessional and sloppy all around. It's basically a failure that was going to occur for AOAA sooner or later, but I didn't think it would happen now. Don't buy this EP, unless you are someone who like this type of weak music, AOAA I dub thee fucked for life.