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Stop! Slammertime! - 87%

GuardAwakening, January 16th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Amputated Vein Records

As I write this, I'm still somewhat shooken up by the strangely marketed sentences that come with this album located on a small cardboard flap incased inside the plastic shrinkwrap on the CD's spine:

"Finally, Germany's brutal slam death outfit unleashes their highly anticipated, and long overdue debut full length! "Couldn't tell the bodies apart" aka negative slamming brutality at it's (sic) best. [...] this release is guaranteed to kill you!"

Now despite the fact that this marketing flap contains the sentence that this release is guaranteed to kill me.... I'm also somewhat astounded by the grammar error found in it; the word "it's" when the writer clearly meant to write the word "its" instead. Then again, I can't expect much grammar coordination from a Japan-based record label and their failure to distinguish the word "its" from a contraction of the words "it is", so I'll cut them some slack there. Nonetheless, this album does have some visually interesting aspects, I mean the artwork itself doesn't go as far to some Tony Koehl exaggerated morbid violent/sexual bombarded album cover, just some blood and gore in its finest display as the cover depicts disfigured corpses impaled on spears. The album title completely reflects the music and the art itself. A disc as brutal as this could have gone just fine without the marketing flap.

The music on here is not only impressive to my liking as far as brutal slamming death metal reaches, but the fact that these guys don't pride themselves on how heavy their music is is another aspect I enjoy. It's just not-so-clean fun. Filthy slams, brutal riffs, guttural vocals and blast beats are all of the norm here, but the fact that this band also employs deathcore-esque breakdowns into their assault feels like they're just giving a big "fuck you" to all formulaic elements of a specific genre.

To get on with the vocals, I want to make note that the vocalist is female. Yes, you read that correctly... if you've already heard this album, that is a woman doing the lead vocal work heard on this release. Frankly, I want to just make note that these are without a doubt the deepest growls of any sort I've ever heard a female vocalist perform. Most to all female growlers, you can actually (if you're like me at least) hear in their voice a tad bit as they're growling, a small pigment or clue in the sound that their throat is projecting that they are female. It's like, Arch Enemy, Cerebral Bore... those sort of bands. It's hard to explain, but their vocalists and all female growlers before and after them have had some sort of sound that partially gives away that they're female albeit it would sound different if it was a man doing those same types of vocals in those bands.

With that said, I want to state here, that there is NONE of those clues for the vocals in Awaiting the Autopsy. Absolutely literally no indication that the vocalist here is female. It literally one hundred percent sounds like a man. Although, in contrast to the growls, she does occasionally lets out a tortured-esque scream in variable moments within the music that sounds a little more feminine in its tone than her growls, but her gutturals are without a doubt just impressive. In fact, the vocals are so ridiculously deep that I'm not even sure if they're exhaled. I've debated for a while if these are exhaled or inhaled vocals. If they're inhaled, my praise retains no different from them being exhaled. The fact that a woman can generate this sound is nothing short of amazing and absolutely badass.

If skullcrushing slams and really, really slow heartstopping breakdowns are up your alley, then this album is for you. Everything down to the production tone is impressive and I'd rank this album across a board of alltime favorite slam albums if I ever were to create such a list. The only issue I have is that this record tends to wear off and become a bit boring with too many listens. It's good for the occasional dose of brutal music, but not to be taken in overly large doses.

Best songs: "Baseball Bat Lobotomy", "Feet First Woodchipper Suicide" and "Intestinal Self Strangulation"

What a waste! - 75%

Immune_to_Poison, November 14th, 2010

Couldn't Tell the Bodies Apart is an awesome slam death metal album, musically. And when I say awesome, I'm talking elite. This album has some of the most skull crushing slams I have ever heard. Awaiting the Autopsy's music is pure, concentrated violence, with slams so heavy someone could listen to them while murdering a man and subsequently have the charges dropped on account of riff induced temporary insanity.

The speed dynamics are what really caught me. The tempo ranges from jackrabbit on a date fast to slow enough to make Chopin's Funeral March sound like Dark Angel. That's a fitting analogy, because some of their slams go into a slow enough territory that's usually reserved for the funeral doom genre. "Backyard Autopsy" is the track to check out to demonstrate what I mean, starting with blasts and tremelo picking, and then transitioning to a chug so slow that bobbing your head in time to it would bear a stronger semblance to nodding off than headbanging. The songwriting is very strong, to the point where the thrashy riffs and chug riffs feed off of each other as two mutualistic organisms, complimenting and enhancing one another. It really is just about flawless how tempo changes are utilized on this album. The riffs themselves themselves are pretty catchy and the drumming is ferocious, staying varied enough to stay interesting. The musicianship is as tight as it gets.

The chick on vocals is a beast. She can growl and gurgle with the big boys, that's for sure. Her voice is excellent and, I'm being dead serious, if I didn't know she was a female before hand, I would have never guessed it in a million years based on her style. She honestly sounds more ravenous and brutal than a lot of men do in the slam death styling.

I'm praising this album like it's one of the greatest slam death albums ever, and so far it is. But now I have to touch on the one thing that almost completely ruins the entire album. It's the singer's bright idea to add grindcore shrieks over some of the slams. You know the chick from the band Tard? She uses a bird-caw like high pitched rasp in her band's music, and it works. She pulls it off well, plus that style fits over deathgrind. But in Awaiting the Autopsy's case, their singer can't shriek worth a damn, and shrieking doesn't fit over brutal death metal to begin with. If that singer hadn't used her stupid shrieking rasps, this album would have easily scored a 90, baybe even a 95, but the album is brought down so, so much because of them. They're that bad. I was talking about "Backyard Autopsy" before. Take a listen, and hear her go from gurgling like a madwoman over the world's heaviest slam to shouting like a teenage girl whose parents won't buy her a Porsche. It's only a few seconds of shouting, but that's it... the song is ruined after that. There's no going back. She does this at least once in a song for about half the album, rendering that half nearly unlistenable. It actually pisses me off thinking about it, because I love the music, and I love her growls, and ruining it with something so stupid and unnecessary is simply a waste of grade A material.

I would literally get down on my knees and beg this woman to lose the shrieks on their next release. If they brought the same riffage, the same type of songwriting, the same production, everything, and just got rid of the rasps, it would be a slam classic. I'm talking Molesting the Decapitated level. Couldn't Tell the Bodies Apart is a good slam album, and it saddens me to say that, because it truly should have been an opus of the genre. I say it's worth a purchase.