The Headless Ritual
24 June 2013
Chris Reifert - vocals, drums
Eric Cutler - vocals, guitars
Danny Coralles - guitars
Joe Allen(Trevisano) - bass guitar
1. Slaughter At Beast House 06:33
2. Mangled Far Below 03:37
3. She Is A Funeral 07:32
4. Coffin Crawlers 04:32
5. When Hammer Meets Bone 05:34
6. Thorns And Ashes 01:45
7. Arch Cadaver 04:22
8. Flesh Turns To Dust 03:27
9. Running From The Goathead 04:29
10. The Headless Ritual 02:24
These San Franciscan forefathers of American gorefilled death metal has been going at it on and off since 1987 with the current album, The Headless Ritual, being their second album after getting back together in 2009. The two co-founders Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler are still going strong with long-time collaborator Danny Coralles still in the fold as well so even without listening to the album, I knew it was going to be tight as hell. Bass player Joe Allen has only been with Autopsy since 2010 but has already appeared on two full-lengths, a single and an EP so he is really pulling his weight into the fray.
Not one to beat around the bush Autopsy goes at it right away with Slaughter At Beast House. Lyrically it's brutal and nightmare-ish while musically it's intense, claustrophobic and insane...just the way I like them to be. Even though heavy as hell there are slower, almost progressive parts - within limits of course - giving the guys a chance to breathe before launching into Mangled Far Below. A piledriver that leaves everything in dust and ruins it's a full frontal attack from start to finish. She Is A Funeral weaves back and forth between almost funeral doom tempo to pure annihilation with the vocals being spewed out like bile and venom. The two solos are amazing! Coffin Crawlers starts out with a schizophrenic and chaotic bee swarm guitar attack before an even more insane voice leads us through the ups and downs of this demented but brilliant song.
When Hammer Meets Bone is exactly what the title says...a skull crusher of the most vicious kind not leaving a single survivor in it's wake. Invoking false hope Autopsy slows it down halfway through only to unleash the fucking fury wringing the last bit of strength from me.Thorns And Ashes is by far the shortest track on The Headless Ritual working more like an intro to Arch Cadaver. Initially slower than slow the band goes from 0 to 150mph in two seconds running over anyone standing in their way.
The claustrophobic feeling is back in full force on Flesh Turns To Dust where I feel trapped underground being chased by zombies. It's absolutely unrelentless and punishing and I found myself sweating profusely every time I listen to this song. Running From The Goathead is a brutal head-on motherfucker in the good old-style death metal kind-of-way. The dual solos towards the end are phenomenal as is the guitar playing from Cutler and Coralles throughout while Reifert is pounding the life out of the drums and Allen is keeping the savagery going with his bass.
The album ends with the instrumental title track which is a wise choice. It works great at keeping the insanity of all the songs going and as an outro it promises more excellent craziness for these bonged-out Californians.
I have to admit I hadn't listened to Autopsy in quite some time but The Headless Ritual has definitely changed that. It's time for me to head to the vaults of gore and death and dig out their old stuff and get back on track. Call me old and conservative but today's death metal is boring and extremely calculated where The Headless Ritual is a breath of fresh putrid gut-drenched with a lot of soul and heart. Don't know if Autopsy likes that last part but what I mean is they did what they wanted to without any concern what people would say and therefore they released a death metal album the way it is supposed to be. So get off your couches and buy this carnage from a band that deserves greatness.