AUTOPSY — Mental Funeral (review)

AUTOPSY — Mental Funeral album cover Album · 1991 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
The YouTube program Lock Horns by Banger TV, the same fine people who do Banger Films, has been a wonderful way for me to learn about bands. Autopsy is one such band that came up on an episode about early death metal and I had already seen their album “Severed Survival” mentioned on some old school death metal lists. “Mental Funeral” was my second purchase of the band’s output and it is this album that really made me feel it money well-spent.

There are three things that I get excited about when listening to “Mental Funeral”. First, this is a band that knows how to come up with really awesome riffs. In fact, I would say many of their coolest riffs are like an alternate universe’s Black Sabbath with maybe some Pentagram in there as well. Oh, they have their slow doom, pounding chords and their speedy, cantering death attacks. But Autopsy easily slip in this groovy riffs that swagger with the drums. The thing is, just about every song will include all three approaches, meaning you never know when a song will abruptly change gear or how it will change. A charging intro might drop down with some crushing slow chords and then throw in some swinging groove early doom riff. Nice!

Next, I love the guitar sound. It makes me think of a band that was going for a seventies doom metal sound rather than a nineties death metal sound. It just sounds like old school distortion but it’s so nice on my ears. It’s interesting to note that the title of the song “In the Grip of Winter” was inspired by the Budgie song title “In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand”. Seems like there is some old school influence after all.

Third, they did something with the drums. I don’t know if they loosened the skin on the snare or what it is, but the drums have this slightly slack, clacking, slapping sound that for me just works so well on this album. I doubt I’d want to hear it in too many other places but for “Mental Funeral” I think it’s just wicked. Add to that the fact that drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert can play his drums with slick skill makes the percussion section even more interesting to listen to. I particularly noticed how he doesn’t rely on the double kick drums too often, employing them to great effect when he does.

Now it’s funny that I noticed just now that the drummer is also the lead vocalist because as I was listening to the album on my way home tonight, I was thinking of how to describe the vocals and at first I thought of a large, drooling troll but soon it came to me that Reifert sounds like Animal from The Muppets only three times larger in size. He’s like a a troll-sized Animal doing vocals, and since Animal is also a drummer, well, it just fits. What is he growling about? I don’t really know though I can guess it’s gory and bloody and gross.

I have so far brought home nearly 50 albums since I began delving deeply into extreme metal from this spring and this album has been one of the more outstanding ones. I don’t know if Autopsy’s next album followed this style but for now, “Mental Funeral” is likely to make my top ten favourite purchases of the year.
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8 months ago
I read your review after posting mine, UMUR. I am in good company. I also have Skullgrinder which is good. But this one really stands out.
UMUR wrote:
8 months ago
Hell yeah, I´ll give some love to this album too. One of my favorite death metal albums. If you´re wondering how their other albums sound, the first four all feature a pretty different sound. Their albums after their comeback all feature a relatively similar sound to this one.

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