California’s Autopsy have always been regarded as a pioneer of the death metal movement amongst the other titans from the Florida death metal scene like Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary etc. 1989’s ‘Severed Survival’ and 1991’s ‘Mental Funeral’ are regarded as classics for any death metal fan’s music collection. However two years on from their last studio offering ‘Macabre Eternal’ Autopsy are back with ‘The Headless Ritual’, does this new offering still stick to the traditional death metal style?
From the get go anyone who knows the style Autopsy bring to the table will immediately know that ‘The Headless Ritual’ is most certainly a Autopsy record. The record features every feature which made ‘Severed Survival’ such a distinctive record, so note that Chris Reifert’s signature growls and the pounding riffs performed by Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler. For example ‘Mangled Far Below’ presents the signature Autopsy onslaught across three minutes of crushing riffs and growls resembling the the lyrical topic which is so often associated with Autopsy; gore.
However one indicator which really showcases that ‘The Headless Ritual’ is somewhat different to past Autopsy records is its differing levels of pace. Across the course of this new record the speed dips and rises consistently, the effect aligning itself more closely to that of doom metal. For example the opening track ‘Slaughter at Beast House’ and ‘She Is A Funeral’ both clock in around the six/seven minute mark, and both of these tracks feature differing levels of pass throughout. The effect of this effectively can highlight individual and unique aspects towards Autopsy’s music; Coffin Crawlers’ features an extensive intricate introductory solo which showcases the band’s technical ability. The only downside of this extensive length is that it can become slightly tedious in the wait for the onslaught to continue, and to some it may be enough to turn the record off entirely.
Autopsy fans will certainly not be disappointed with ‘The Headless Ritual’, it more or less is a direct continuation of the style that Autopsy’s success relied on. Whilst the record does experiment with technicality more so than in comparison with previous offerings it isn’t overly done so fans are not alienated by a direct change in musical direction. ‘The Headless Ritual’ is one heavy as fuck record and a valued addition to any death metal fan’s musical collection.