Autopsy, Morbidity Triumphant (Peaceville 2022)

Oakland death metal band Autopsy is back after eight years with a new full-length album, Morbidity Triumphant.

Autopsy stomped the earth in the first half of the nineties. Their first two albums, Severed Survival (1989) and Mental Funeral (1991), are considered by many to be standards even now. They were a band that cut deeply in the death metal scene, and left carnage in their wake. The band split in 1995, then reformed in 2008/9 and have been cracking on ever since. Their most recent full-length album came out in 2014, Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves, and there have been EPs and splits, compilations, and live albums aplenty along the way. Morbidity Triumphant is Autopsy’s eighth long-player. The band is Eric Cutler (guitar), Danny Coralles (guitar), Chris Reifert (vocals, drums), and Greg Wilkinson (bass).

Autopsy was different from other death bands in the way they used grindcore, punk, and doom in their musical constructions. You get this on the new album as well. The first song is “Stab the Brain.” What a great title. It sounds at first like a disturbed beehive, then a groove kicks in unexpectedly. The chaotic swirl tag teams the groove and hook, showing how well the two disparate ideas can work together. Clever moments of melody and lead guitar bursts elevate the composition to the next level. “Final Frost” is next, and it has an eastern mystical twinge and a moving doom posture walking it to a different space compared to the opener. The second movement of the song is straight up death metal, and then the doom comes back. “The Voracious One” is different still, starting on a groove with a great disarming riff. This one is a top pick for me from the set.

Every song is more than one thing on the new Autopsy album. It is filled with doom and mysticism, and also raging death metal. I particularly like “Tapestry of Scars” for the depths of its doom, and “Skin By Skin” in a similar vein. “Maggots in the Mirror” is a wonderfully stabby punk piece, and “Your Eyes Will Turn to Dust” is perfectly dreary closer. To me, Autopsy has struck exactly the right tone at every turn on this record. Highly recommended.

Morbidity Triumphant is out on Friday, September 30th through Peaceville Records in the customary forms. Check it out through the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://peaceville.bandcamp.com/album/morbidity-triumphant

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100050176223094

Peaceville Records, https://peaceville.com/bands/autopsy/

© Wayne Edwards

Autopsy, Morbidity Triumphant (Peaceville 2022)

Machine Head, Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The tenth studio album from Oakland metal legends Machine Head is a masterpiece: Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn.

Robb Flynn brought Machine Head together in Oakland in 1991. In the early days, groove and nu-metal were the styles usually associated with the band, but after a decade or so the music leaned more clearly toward thrash. With nine previous long-players, and a mighty fistful of EPs, splits, and live albums, Machine Head has made an indelible mark on heavy music. For Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn, Flynn is joined by Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (guitar), Jared MacEachern (bass), and Matt Alston (drums).

It all begins on a quiet, sincere note with “Slaughter The Martyr.” At first. The opening bars are melancholy, and the music builds slowly. A second voice joins and you can feel the cliff coming. Three minutes in you walk right over it and the rushing air around you is the ripping guitar and grinding vocals. The heavy groove element blends perfectly with the speeding riff, and the melodic moments that come and go are like a bird soaring between beating its wings. This song is a ten-minute slab of unmeasurable metal, a certifiable masterpiece, and it is only the first track. It is very unusual for a band to put a song like this up front, and so it is clear that Machine Head is taking no prisoners on Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn.

Many of the songs on the album have been released as singles leading up to the official album release, so we have already heard “Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate” and “Become The Firestorm,” for example. I hadn’t heard “Kill Thy Enemies” until now, and that one was an eye-opener, as was “Bloodshot.” Each of these songs has its own kind of screech that rakes you in entirely different ways. I felt that way all along, that each song has its own dominating presence and, while the set fits together seamlessly, each primary song stands on its own, too.

The album ends on “Arrows In Words From The Sky.” I had heard this one before, and I was delighted to listen again. Calling back the structure of the epic opening, the final track lulls at first and then decimates, but in a completely different way. The sinister nature of the middle of the song and the entrancing guitar solo it leads to is breathtaking. I expected a lot from the new Machine Head album going in, and I came away with more than I could have imagined. Highly recommended.

Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn is out now through Nuclear Blast Records in many varieties and forms.

Band photo by Travis Shinn and Paul Harries.

Links.

Machine Head website, https://www.machinehead1.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Nuclear Blast Records, https://label.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/about/3168273.machine-head.html

© Wayne Edwards

Machine Head, Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn (Nuclear Blast 2022)