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uggggggggh - 26%

Noktorn, February 6th, 2011

Thank god the whole supergroup thing in metal in the early '00s is over- it produced nothing of any value and all of those albums sound horribly dated now. Case in point: The Ravenous, yet another attempt by Chris Reifert to recapture the magic of Autopsy, stumbling and falling all the way. This time he's joined by Danny Lilker, who seems to be the Steve Buscemi of the metal scene by playing bass on every album ever released but not really doing much except allowing people to say 'oh, it's Danny Lilker I guess'. Killjoy, godawful, reprehensible vocalist of Necrophagia rounds out the pack, proving that you shouldn't settle for steak once a week when you can eat shit every day. Admittedly, I did like him in the second August Underground movie, but that's the sum total of his output that I enjoy.

In short, this is Reifert desperately grasping at straws to try and revitalize Autopsy under a new name (just like Abscess and, well, nearly every other project he's been involved with), and predictable it's a failure. It sounds like The Ravenous are going for a blend of 'Mental Funeral' and 'Shitfun', possessing the slow, dirgelike death metal of the former with the Abscessy crust vibe of the latter. A lot of things make this album fail miserably, but let's start with the production. Cloudy and reverbed to all hell, the guitars are an almost indistinguishable mess of background noise whenever the drumming picks up. Vocals are sloppily laid over everything, too dominant in the mix for their own good, and the bass is basically inaudible. So what's occupying the space? It's not really the drums, because they're not that loud either- it's as though the mix has been swallowed up by some droning background noise below the human range of hearing. The guitars tend to creep around the sides of the other instruments, but the exact riffs are often hard to make out. Any way you slice it, it's irritating as all hell.

Then again, even if you could hear the riffs you wouldn't be impressed. They basically sound like the bottom of the barrel Abscess scraped later in their career- Reifert attempts to bring back Autopsy's dark, brooding riffs, but forgets all the special things that made Autopsy riffs so great, like the unsettling use of dissonance and twisted, bent notes. Without any of those subtle elements, you're given an array of pretty bland oldschool death/punk riffs that sound like they were cultivated from a crappy Mantas demo. What The Ravenous are trying to do on any given song is painfully obvious: this one is supposed to be an Abscess-style punk song, this one is a slow, dirgey Autopsy track, and all the while there's never a song done by The Ravenous. The collective has literally no identity of its own- all it does it take cues from other Reifert projects and laze around without anything to say. The songwriting is bland, uninspired, and repetitive- all the things that Autopsy was not.

I guess this is for the same people who think that whatever millionth Rogga Johansson project is newest is the greatest thing in the world and the revitalization of death metal. Frankly, I can't see why anyone would want to listen to this- it's almost impossibly boring and shamelessly robs all the style and musical ideas present from other, better, older bands. What's the point of a record like this? A vanity piece for Reifert to prove he still has it? Please, for the love of god, skip this garbage and just buy an old Autopsy album instead.