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This outstrips the barbaric bludgeoning (a Cannibal Corpse reference, sue me) of their crude yet effective first album in spades. A better, more ambient/cavernous production with a booming drum sound and crushing guitars is what we have here as well as a (somewhat) more refined approach to the lyrics, and this is what Autopsy has wrought; a damn twisted classic.
And Chris Reifert's vocals were more worthy of the term voKILLs, as he made a quantum leap in that realm between "Severed Survival" and this release. His guttural roars and throat-searing retches are intimidating as hell as opposed to the high-pitched vomits of the first album, and his lyrics seem all the more nasty and perverse for it.And what lyrics...his odes to necrophilia, virally-spread death, sewage, gore, and, well, death in all its forms are the product of a truly warped mind, and unlike many bands he has conviction, that's for damn sure. Which makes Eric Cutler's vocal appearance on "Slaughterday" feel a bit generic, honestly, as Cutler simply doesn't sound as terrifying as Riefert does.
However, the rest of the band delivers on the conviction front as well, with Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles especially shining in that deliciously necro manner years before that term was coined. Their haunting melodies and harmonies and bulldozing riffs really came a long way on this album and the deep yet clear guitar sound really aids them in sounding more evil and sinister. The wild, flailing soloing also has a distinct desperate flair and character to it, as well as emotion and structure, two things often lacking in the realm of death metal as far as guitar soloing. As opposed to the generic Slayerisms you hear in most bands of this sort (wank on that whammy bar for all yer worth between uninspired bursts of random atonal notes--leave that to Slayer, guys), the solo in say, "Robbing The Grave" leaves the average death metal idiot in the dust. Bass is buried (no pun intended!) as always, so no comment there. Refer to "Robbing The Grave", "Slaughterday" (the music anyway), "Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay", and "Dark Crusade", among others, for highlghts.
But pretty much this whole album comes highly recommended, it's that damned good. The slower, doomier approach they took on "Mental Funeral" (great title, IMO) makes the faster songs and parts feel more brutal and relentless. This album has dynamics and character to spare, and is enthusiastically recommended to everyone. Quite possibly the best Autopsy album, this is, of all the albums they made, this is where they hit their peak and stride and really started killing all their path.