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The Climax - 99%

Byrgan, April 20th, 2008

After Autopsy's debut 89' release, which was going to be surrounded by many other avenues of upcoming thicker death metal sounds. Autopsy didn't jump up to sound like bands pumped out of New York or Tampa. Which had a much thicker death metal sound, and some of these bands were dropping 80's thrash influences as well. Autopsy keep doing what they were doing. Spouting out more shock and horror like approaches to their atmosphere. They also probably had the resources to sound as technical, deep and brutal, or polished and sterile as they wanted, but opted to keep their sound as raw and non-conformed as possible. This, I think, kept their originality flowing. By sticking to their guns and producing on going twisted musical material. For instance the label they shared for many years, Peaceville, was bringing bands to life that were apart from the crowd. Several groups with cross-genres, such as Doom, and Paradise Lost. Early Paradise Lost, similar to Autopsy, would produce a brand of slower death-doom on their demos and debut. However, this band would go on to a change on their second album. Mental Funeral competed intentionally, or possibly unintentionally and uncaring to various other death metal groups, and would prove a more than worthy second album.

In comparing Mental Funeral's production to Severed Survival it has a much darker sound. Autopsy went from a raw, thrash oriented sound to a more dark and ugly quality. Like the character Two-Face from Batman. You have a mean, sinister goon side, and then the monstrous ugly, dark side; both faces coming from the same person. Literally every instrument has various amounts of reverb added to it. The drums for instance have a more clear and distinguished sound, but are still swirled and frosted with delicious amounts of obscurity. The guitars, bass and vocals are proudly saluting their commander with this soaked cavernous effect as well.

The music did add a few more characteristics to their mix coming from Severed Survival to Retribution for the Dead and then Mental Funeral. We get a more overall slower sound, with the edges sanded and painted a dark, brooding grayish-black color. The guitar lines displayed here are more horror theme oriented. There are plenty of mesmerizing back and forth higher noted interlude like pieces, where the hi-hat will count off or use the tom drums as a ritualistic technique. Both guitars often work in unison and at other times place the accent mark at the end of riffs. For instance, the rhythm will play a particular steady guitar line and then the lead might throw in a a few quick higher notes for flavor. A lot of the riffs can be quite primitive sounding at times, using only a few techniques. It is intricate in thought, but the riffs add more atmosphere than technicalities. Although, there is the occasional higher-volumed reverbed-out detailed solo, spotted like pestering sores throughout the album. There are a few early era Sabbath influences here on the guitars. There is a point on track 2 where the music stops, and he uses the lower volume knob technique. Where the distortion is hardly heard, and aids to a proper build up riff, and volume maximizing. Reifert's drumming amazes me per release, because he is constantly upping himself with creative detail. He still uses a constant playing style with limited breaks. The speed level does elevate to blast beat realms, but usually doesn't loiter long enough for the authorities to investigate. His tom drum chops are a cool feature with the slower moving riffs. During these, he might not even use the hi-hat or ride, but instead utilize the cymbals for nod. Look out strict doom bands, he knows how to keep these slow riffs interesting! His vocals are quite versatile here, they can be mainly deep fluctuating growls, to extended screams. As well as spew out many different indescribable noises.

Autopsy, can you visualize em', huh? Well take the lead, and look up their early killing sprees. Which makes the most vicious homicidal maniac, in the act, look like a choir boy. Mental Funeral took on a darker edge since the debut, as well as added many different engaging characteristics to their aura. Autopsy has been a band that often has a horror-like edge associated to their music. An almost shocking and blunt attitude. Not many bands can pull that off effectively, especially surrounded by many other groups who are attempting to do just that. It is and was inevitable fortune or an unlucky weight that would put the pressure on Autopsy's on going releases. After this album they put out the 'Fiend for Blood' EP which was half working, half not. Then they put out the full length 'Acts of the Unspeakable'. Which was a more polished sound, and an average, and unfocused game plan compared to previous releases. Especially compared to the dark portrait displayed here on Mental Funeral. With overall later releases, I think it was hard to top M.F. in creative energy. It was Autopsy's climatic peak with accumulated qualities.