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The 'Critical Madness' demo continues Autopsy's disgusting journey with a louder sound quality and also differences with musicianship. This includes second guitarist Danny Coralles to dual-up with Eric Cutler and begin an ongoing collaboration until the band would break ties in the nineties by forming Abscess without Cutler. The song structures essentially became more developed with this demo causing Autopsy to establish a unique placing for themselves compared to the last.
As the sound quality became a little louder, the instruments began to raise themselves out of their former shallow graves. The dual guitars add a thicker projection and in turn give the songs more of a "crunch" to its rabid bite. Likewise to Paradise Lost around this time, they went for a slower and more doom-like sound mixed with death metal. It isn't surprising when Coralles states that he listened to Black Sabbath in interviews, as well as Reifert stating he listened to Trouble. This death and doom structure is a foundation that will go on with the band till their very last album. Even when they included grind and dropped the thrash influences, they still never forgot to churn out a plodding riff here and there. With this newer attitude, it separated themselves as a band and it was basically a diverse change of setting compared with some contemporary groups continuing to use the typical thrash-like momentum. At some point it became a standard: done well by some, rudimentarily copied by others, and bands such as Autopsy with their demo here in '88, searched elsewhere for inspiration to set themselves apart.
Reifert's vocals began to slightly evolve from the last. He does a sort of fluctuating mildly growled voice at times with some higher, almost screaming tones that break loose as well. His voice started to fill in compared to the last and caused it to sound less adolescent to my ears. His drumming chops began to expand by attempting to match some of the different tempo changes and as a result has more capability to include varied fills to the overall mixture. Often when he's vocalizing he'll attack the cymbals, since I'd imagine this to be more convenient than various rolls and far-reaching hits around the drum set, which he does plenty of when the vocals get a rest. It turns out to be a cool little effect that a lot more bands should embrace. Because I believe when you play faster sections, the cymbal hits place a definite "nod" to your headbang, and without them, or not enough of them, it's as if you're waiting for something to happen, causing you to be more of a spectator than an actual participant. Ken Sorvari replaced Eric Eigard on bass. He seems to add a subtle hint of backup to the guitars than being separate and distinct. Over their span, I have to say they went through more bassists than the filmmakers did soundmen on the movie 'Man Bites Dog,' that or it feels more like some kind of recurring guest with each of their recordings, and for whatever reason never settling on one to fill the position.
Autopsy fleshed out dormant abilities of themselves from their last recording. And I have to say within less than a year's time they gave a decent size "nudge" forward. The songs displayed here would be included on their monumental debut 'Severed Survival' of the next year, which are only slightly altered musically, along with the production getting fuller, essentially maximizing them even more. I recommend this early recording for a prime mixture of death, thrash and hints of doom where each of the respected genres are capable of working together as a whole.