Sunday, December 25, 2011

BEST OF 2011: Part 5!

You're right. This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the new Autopsy record. But hanging with Chris Reifert and family was definitely a highlight of 2011.

Macabre Eternal

The reunion record to crush all reunions! Autopsy did the unthinkable: they created a killer double LP that not only sidesteps wimpy progression at the expense of their own legacy of brutality but also refuses to pander to the lowest common denominator with a lazy rehash of former glory. Don’t worry. You won’t hear any clean vocals, modern influences or production tricks on Macabre Eternal. In fact, if the boys are guilty of anything here it’s probably regression, with Eric Cutler’s contributions occasionally sounding more like early Necrophagia or Impetigo than Autopsy! Otherwise, this is exactly the ambitious 2011 record that fans might expect from the creators of Mental Funeral, the greatest death metal record of all time (fortunately for me, nobody reads this blog so I won’t have to moderate tons of angry comments from anonymous assholes who hope to assert their own "greatest death metal record of all time"). I shall go out on yet another dismembered limb and declare Always About To Die the death metal ballad of the year. Hands down. Carve these lyrics on my tombstone. If Autopsy only recorded this one song I would still include them on my “best of 2011” list. Reifert hits another poetic crescendo (seems like I type the same thing every year…talk about redundant journalism!) and the wry winks to both Jim Morrison and Bobby Leibling are not entirely lost on this imbecile. The very satisfying Wes Benscotter cover painting is also a fine return to form for the artist who basically single-handedly painted the entire 1990’s Relapse catalog. In fact, long ago I drunkenly coined the term “Benscotter Blues” to describe the feeling of impending dread one feels when one has partied (or drawn) longer into the night than anticipated and suddenly sees that faint indigo hue of dawn stabbing through the cracks in the blinds. It’s a terrible feeling perhaps best visualized in Benscotter’s painting for Hacked Up For Barbeque, which is itself something of an homage (intentional or not) to Bill Elder’s 1954 splash page for a self-referential EC comic titled, appropriately enough, The Night Before Christmas. You can also take my pal Ryan’s glass-half-full/glass-half-empty Autopsy self-analysis quiz. Just stare at the cover of Macabre Eternal and decide for yourself if those rascally zombies are stealing the skull or restoring the skull. Choose carefully, boys and girls. The answer also contains your forecast for the coming year…