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For Annotations of an Autopsy, it all started here with their 2007 EP "Welcome to Sludge City". This is not a super impressive debut or anything but it is still a pretty solid listen despite all the negative reception. I'm not going to sit here and say how it's amazing and a totally original and unique slab of brutal deathcore because that is not the case. This is really just a dumb little EP containing an intro and 3 actual songs. There is nothing absolutely amazing going on here but for what it is, it's heavy and fun.
These songs do absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from one another. Every song excluding the intro track "Awaiting the Autopsy" follows the exact same pattern of brutal death and slam-influenced riffs and breakdowns. There are no guitar solos and there is no BS. Just straight forward, crushing deathcore. "Gore Gore Gadget" is the strongest of these songs in my opinion. It doesn't sound particularly different but the riff after the "what the fuck is that" sample is probably my favorite on the album, without really being all that impressive anyway. This song contains my favorite breakdowns. The chugging riff that plays at around 2:30 is probably the most "melodic" moment on the album and overall sounds the most pleasing to my ears. "Welcome to Sludge City" and "Serpents" are the other two songs not counting the intro. The former is one of the band's most well-known songs and is my second favorite from the EP, while the latter doesn't really sound much different from the other two. These are enjoyable songs but they just don't differentiate themselves from one another.
This is definitely my least favorite offering from the band in the vocal department, discounting the "Dark Days" EP that I'm not even going to bother to talk about. When the band released their first full-length album "Before the Throne of Infection" a year later, these vocals, as well as everything else, improved by a bit. Steve's vocals here rely more on higher screams and pig squeals than the more guttural style the band would incorporate on their following album. Although both these discs sound so much different than their death metal opus "II: The Reign of Darkness". These vocals are just bland deathcore squeals that don't do anything to help the rest of the music. If you enjoy a lot of "breeing" you will dig this.
I still consider this EP important because it is important in showcasing how the band evolved and progressed from 2006 to 2010. I'd consider this EP to be my second least favorite offering from the band. It's a fun EP but I'd definitely recommend "Before the Throne of Infection" and ESPECIALLY "II: The Reign of Darkness" over this.
Annotations of an Autopsy's very beginnings start with Welcome to Sludge City, an EP containing 3 songs and one intro. Now for a metal genre that was just on its ripe of popularity at the time (deathcore), you can see tons of Myspace Metal-esque tunes all compiled into this 4-track CD. The songs almost sound and feel as if they were meant for a 17-year old scenester to discover the band's page on the famed social networking website to have his mind blown away at their "br00tal gore lyrics and pig squeelz". The band's music on this release is indeed very interesting, but not so much intelligent.
On this release, we see some of the band's most recognized songs; "Welcome to Sludge City" (later titled just "Sludge City") and "Gore Gore Gadget". I want to say that these songs at times feel more produced to believe that the band wrote them themselves, which is probably true. Given a source I read in an issue of Revolver, the band evidently were signed before even playing their first show which leads me to believe that This City Is Burning formed AOAA or the band simply bought their way into the label and had a producer sum-up these songs for them. Either way, I'm puzzled at how they apparently released no pre-prod or demo album before the release of this EP. Many of the songs here follow through with slam riffs, gurgle vocals, tremolo riffs and breakdowns.
Speaking of breakdowns, you're going to find them here in consecutive doses than even in the band's later music, but somehow even their songwriting (or whoever wrote these songs) as a whole works better here. The opening track "Welcome to Sludge City" sounds and feels much more energetic, powerful and (as the band would want) BRUTAL than that of its re-recorded version included on Before the Throne of Infection and before I get ahead of myself, I want to say that the reason for it may just lie in the label themselves. Their debut full-length wasn't issued through This City Is Burning, it was issued through Siege of Amida.
In any case, "Gore Gore Gadget" seems to have some notable advantages to it as well such as considerable guitar work and blast beat playing that doesn't insist of blaring the listener as the opening track did.
Whatever the case, if AOAA are a label made band or not, Welcome to Sludge City I would state in my personal opinion is definitely the band's second best release in terms of song quality, writing, composition and just about everything else. The band were years away from finding their potential by the release of their best album, II: The Reign of Darkness but yet were modest enough to keep their core sound (no pun intended) and style until growing up to that point.
Before you advance any further into the content of this review, please fill out this checklist:
[ ] I'm looking for vague hints of intelligence in my music.
If you checked the above box, you may cease reading the review at this point, because this album will not interest you in the slightest. Relatively well-known deathcore band Annotations of an Autopsy start their career off on a relatively high note, and unsurprisingly like most deathcore bands they did so by aiming as low as possible with their music. No pandering to progressive song structure, no technical riffs: just the bare-bones essentials of deathcore, tweaked with ever so slightly to give the music an individual touch.
Given this is 2007 deathcore, the influences are pretty obvious: Job for a Cowboy is still a part of the formula (though to a lesser extent), but the main two influences are the debut albums of Suicide Silence and Carnifex. Like the latter of those two, this is brutal death metal mixed with the occasional downtuned melodic death metal riff and breakdowns that are slam-like in their momentum. This is, essentially, Waking the Cadaver with class, and it bears a striking resemblance to bands like Ingested and Distorted Impalement a few years before those guys were pulling off this brutal deathcore stuff. The vocalist alternates between dry raspy deathcore screams and some truly unique gutturals. Imagine, if you will, the vocal tone of Cephalotripsy mixed with the thin sound of Terminally Your Aborted Ghost. These high, slurred pig squeal-esque vocals are some of the most unique I've heard in anything related to deathcore, and they certainly add to the experience. There are a few occasional hardcore shouts that are pretty crappy (as they all are in deathcore), but they're not too big of a problem given their scarcity.
One of the things I really love about this release is that it's deathcore with atmosphere. Unlike bands like Carnifex whose appeal is solely in the heavy thuggishness of the riffs and slams, Annotations of an Autopsy have a feeling of eerieness to back their riffs up. Not doom metal-type eerieness, but the sense that you're in a dark alley of some crappy city like Detroit. Excluding the useless intro track, all three tracks capture the feeling of grimy, near-dystopian towns almost perfectly. I can't name very many other deathcore bands that can embody a theme in their compositions rather than their aesthetics, so bravo.
This isn't music you listen to because you want to admire how beautiful it sounds. You listen to it because the riffs are actually really good, the vocals are both original and cool, and unlike most deathcore bands, this one actually has that "atmosphere" stuff that people mention when they talk about bands like Death and Morbid Angel. Check this EP out.
It's pretty hard to find an album that sucks more than this does. It's possible, but hard. This is a boring, annoying, and unorigianl release, and honestly it just really isn't good by any stretch of the imagination. The 3 points come from the first riff in "Welcome to Sludge City" (which is a "meh" riff) and the lyrics to "Serpents" (which are satanic rather than "gore-based"). In a similar way to Waking the Cadaver, AOAA have basically built a house that not only lacks a foundation, but is instead just a pile of boards. In fact, these guys have basically just thrown a bunch of boards off a cliff to see if they make the shape of a house. That's how little effort was put into this release. If I'm wrong and they did indeed "try" to make a good record, then this among the worst failures of all time.
At first it has the distinction of being funny, what with all the "bree bree hor hor"'s, the dun-dun, dundun-dundundun breakdowns, and the opening chant of "she bled from every fucking hole!". Also how hard the vocalist appears to be trying makes me smile. After about 30 seconds though you've exausted all you need to hear from this shitty album, and you'll realize that it's just another uninspired deathcore record. Don't get me wrong, those first 30 seconds were pure comedic genius though haha.
The vocalist will be the first thing you'll notice. His vocal abilites range from "breeeeeee" to "hooooooor", oh, along with some "rawwwwr"'s and "aaaaaaaagh"'s every now and then. He double tracks over 90% of his vocals, leading to this album being over three times as shitty as it would be normally. This is most easily noticed in the track "Gore Gore Gadget", a song about "straight edge" kids. In this song everything blends together to the point that the music is unimportant. It's just a bunch of tremelo picked riffs and the same breakdown over and over again. This song starts out with the standard tremelo picked riff before the vocalist lets out a "bree bree, more bree!" and a cliche'd sample pops up with some dude saying "what the fuck is that????". After wards there's an insipid 6/8 breakdown and another breakdown with tapping. If you want to get an idea of how bad this EP is, give this little ditty a listen. It's vomit enducing.
With that said, we now move on to the riffs. Ah, the riffs! As previously mentioned, they range from typical deathcore riffs to typical deathcore breakdowns. The sole change in pace on the entire cd is one little tapping breakdown in "Gore Gore Gadget". These guys are literally just chugging along and tremelo picking along for the EP's like...12 minute length. Idiots. Most of the riffs are blocked out by the "bree bree" vocal style, but I retain my claim that they probably aren't anything you need to hear anyway.
The lyrics to each of these songs are beyond cliche. "Welcome..." is about...well... what does every deathcore band sing about? Yes, you got it. This song is about torturing a girl. Original, right? I love the poetry in the line "When I'm done with you, you won't have a cunt left!" followed by an emotional "bree bree bree bree!!". "Gore Gore..." is about how stupid straight edge people are, I think. Not so sure, I just know they're really immature and retarded. The final track, "Serpents", is a cliche anti-christian song, with lyrics about...well...satan. I guess that's cool, but Deicide do it much better.
What I really don't understand is how this band got signed. Showing no signs of promise, as well as no positive elements whatsoever, there is no label on earth that would be so stupid as to add this band to it's roster unless forced. This band does not deserve to be heard, only critisize..
So, DON'T GET THIS. This is absolutly fucking horrendous for every second of it's existance. If you're so interested, just go listen to "Gore Gore Gadget" on myspace music and forget about it shortly after.
To be honest at a first listen to this band you may think "Wow a deathcore band that is actually really quite heavy and nasty sounding" but listen a little closer and you will soon find that bands like this are worse then the At the gates plagiarists. This band especially makes me ashamed to say I hail from the UK because it is another less then worthwhile English deathcore band with illusions of grandeur. I say this because they seem to really believe they are "brutal" death metal but all to be had here is the usual one chord breakdowns and of course every scene kids favorite vocals "piggy squeals".
The first time I heard this band I at first thought the riffs were sounding really heavy and that perhaps I had found some English deathcore worth listening too. This lasted for about 7 seconds before i realized just how terrible this band really are. The riffs are all predictable and once you have heard one song from Annotations of an autopsy you have indeed heard them all. The breakdowns are frequent and therefore annoying and boring. And of course due to this EP being deathcore there are no solos! Shocker there.
Vocals and lyrics:
As I mentioned earlier in this review this EP possess almost all pig squeals in the way of vocals. If your like me then this will piss you off to a large extent as this vocal style is acceptable but only in small doses, when done almost constantly it is hard to enjoy at all. It is a shame that this vocalist insists on doing so many bloody pig squeals because when he does do the odd low death metal grunts or the higher style metal screams they are surprisingly good.
The lyrics are definitely what looses points for me on this EP. I don't want to sound like I take personal offense at the lyrics in this album because they are supposedly too violent but the subjects of these songs are just so lame. Its more of the same misogynistic crap that try so hard to be death metal. Many bands of this genre try the same sort of stuff but this band are so "brutal" they take it to the next level by just singing about rape, and fucking girls with knives ect. Don't be fooled into thinking this is the same idea as lyrics in a cannibal corpse song this is wannabe "brutal" bullshit and if you really look into it is just as whiny as emo. Also some of the metalcore chanting parts in 'welcome to sludge city' are just so pathetic its untrue, for example "When I'm done with you, you wont have a cunt left" is just one sentence that represents this crap for it is. Poser metal.
This music is perfect if your looking for a laugh as it is so bad at times its laughable. I had the bad luck to see this band live at one point, believe me I was there for the other bands on the lineup, and looking at the AOAA fans that day says a lot about this band. Its for those crab dancing retards in the mosh pits and is absolutely terrible for any real metal fans. These songs have no intricate riffing like real metal, no solos like real metal and no talent like real metal. When an EPs only upside is that its short you know what to do, AVOID!