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A CD chock-full of mid 2000s extreme metal trends - 69%

GuardAwakening, January 25th, 2013

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.