Autopsy will forever be the key that deciphered for me the unfathomable joys of death metal.
So as a big fan of Mental Funeral but not so much their other albums, I was intrigued to lay my hands on their latest Peaceville release All Tomorrow’s Funerals.
This 22-track double monster compiles and remasters out-of-print EPs Retribution for the Dead and Fiend for Blood along with comeback single and subsequent EP Horrific Obsession and The Tomb Within.
If that wasn’t enough for you greedy bastards, they have garnished the feast with four new songs.
While much of the earlier material has been previously included as bonus tracks on recent re-releases, this is the first time it been compiled in a single release of non-album songs.
Sequenced reverse-chronologically, it’s a fascinating trip back in time to the roots of this influential band.
What stands out in this remarkably consistent collection is how outrageously hummable and catchy Autopsy so frequently manage to be while maintaining their trademark disgusting and fetid atmosphere.
Check Squeal Like a Pig for pure ear-wormery.
The other main theme to emerge from repeatedly playing through all 73 minutes of this death metal smorgasbord is that Autopsy have become more consistently excellent with age.
However, whether by luck or talent or both, when their younger selves nailed it, they really nailed it in a way no-one before or since has quite managed to.
Nevertheless the new material that front loads the album is pretty bloody good, all told.
One of the best things about Autopsy is their doominess. They are masters of the queasy riff and lurching tempo change.
They remain brilliant at being slow and the doomy bits are as fantastic as they ever were.
Check the latter half of new song Broken People to see this in action.
For me though, it’s the best of old stuff that hits hardest. The riffs are slimier, groovier. Gyrating like a horny leper that pauses mid-leer to drift into a narcotic trance, they lurch towards you twitching with anger.
Mental Funeral tracks Destined to Fester and The Grip of Winter really stand out with their murky, sinister melodies and dank atmospheres that give way to sickly grooves.
There’s some filler dating from this era. The sub-60 second Fiend for Blood and A Different Kind of Mindfuck are a bit pointless. Ravenous Freaks reminds me of pointless and goofy skits that were popular among many death and thrash bands in the early 90s.
Definitely a release worth grabbing, particularly if you don’t have The Tomb Within or the recent Peaceville re-releases.