"Skull Grinder" is an EP release by US death metal act Autopsy. The EP was released through Peaceville Records in November 2015. It´s the successor release to the band´s 7th full-length studio album "Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves" from 2014. The material from the EP also appears on the "After the Cutting (2015)" special limited edition compilation album.
If you´re familiar with Autopsy´s sound from previous releases, it´ll be no surprise to learn that the 7 tracks featured on the 28:28 minutes long EP continue down the same old school death metal path that the band have more or less played since day one. It´s filthy and gory, and played with a strong organic touch, which provides the music with great authenticity. Autopsy as always incorporate both mid-paced brutal grooves, faster-paced punked rhythms, and slow doomy playing. There´s an omnipresence of guitar solos and themes that provides the music with a sort of bizarre phychadelic atmosphere. Bizarre is of course also the right word to use when describing Chris Reifert´s (drums, vocals) vocal performance. There´s something demented about the way he delivers his growling vocals, that makes him stand out among the legions of growling vocalists on the scene. He sounds evil, filled with despair, and positively mad, at the same time. And he sounds like he means it, which to my ears makes all the difference between a good and bad vocalist.
"Skull Grinder" features one of the most well sounding productions to yet grace an Autopsy release. It manages to sound both powerful and raw but also clear and detailed, which is always a difficult balance to strike. With old school death metal you don´t want it to be so lo-fi and filthy that you´re missing details, but at the same time it´s usually also an issue if the sound production is too polished.
Upon conclusion "Skull Grinder" is yet another high quality release by one of the seminal acts on the US old school death metal scene, and there´s no sign of these guys becoming softer with age or slowing down. They do what they do, and they do it well. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.