Thursday, June 11, 2009

Awaiting The Autopsy - Couldn't Tell The Bodies Apart (Amputated Vein Records; 2009)

Awaiting the Autopsy is a relatively new 3-piece slam outfit from Germany, which doesn't have very many slam bands to its name (that are notable anyway...this band features a member of Poostew and Corporectomy who we once reviewed here; there's also Despondency who neither Nick or I are really fans of). In any case, I recall reading about their early demo and I think taking a listen to their earlier Myspace stuff and it was way too "deathcore" for me to really get into it, or at least enjoy it enough to review it here. This seems to be a whole new beast, and I'm glad they stepped up their game.

Whether I was just imagining the discrepancy between their old stuff and this or not, this is some fucking killer slam with a patently dark and sinister edge. From the wonderfully evocative album title (and art by none other than Mike at Visual Darkness) to the very well used dissonant chords placed between slams, to the Guttural Secrete-esque creepy non-ironic dark acoustic track near the end of the album, this is one hell of a mature release. Also, Phlegeton of Human Mincer and Wormed does wonders for their credibility by doing awesome guest vocals on "Slowmotion Slide Down the Impalement Stake" (kudos to the gruesome and cool song title too).

The first song actually shows traces of deathcore days past, though, and at first it was almost enough for me to yell at the people who recommended this to me. However, by "Backyard Autopsy" all fears are quelled by a surprisingly creative driving rhythmic slam and perfect drum programming (excellent kick drum fills abound, this is always an awesome way to program). My main gripe with the drum programming Christian utilizes, however, lies in the distinctly flat and lame/powerless snare sound. It could have been much more powerful and resonant so I'm not sure why this sample was opted for. Regardless, the actual technical proficiency of the programming is nothing to scoff at as most of the fills are absolutely great.

"Feet First Woodchopper Suicide" features a very Saprogenic riff at 1:54 (that is to say, it is sinister, dark, tremolo picked and pretty damn awesome) which carries the song a great deal until it is thrown out for somewhat of an old-school death riff played in the rhythmically-metered slam style. Oh, and fear not about pinch harmonic abuse. ATA know how to incorporate them well. They're used pretty tastefully and they almost never sound stupid. This is good as apparently a lot of slam bands nowadays are acting like they just learned what harmonics are. A well done job on the non-slam riffing and harmonic-usage side of this release, I must say. Also, "Wormpaste" has some crazy sweeping right in the beginning and sort of a semi-lead/solo in the middle with the same motif. Kind of fun, I must admit, and a good songwriting step.

The vocals are a layered guttural inhale and there are some very good exhales, even somewhat akin to Majewski on the new Devourment. One of the big selling points here, apparently, is female vocalist Ulrike doing high pitched desparate screams, which are akin to the ones Dripping sometimes used. The one thing that could improve them (and make them even more Dripping-like) is to blend them in more so they aren't just appearing in breakdown holes, etc. Anyway, these vocals set ATA apart from the pack, which is good in a scene where everyone does basically the same thing, vocally.

If you're looking for a pretty "dark" slam album with some experimental tendencies and more brutalizing breakdowns than you can shake a stick at (and if you don't mind a tiny bit of deathcore chugging in your slam), you should absolutely check this out. Will likely make the top 10 of my slam list this year.


malice13231 said...

Amazing album!! Definitely one of the years best!

shawn said...

this shit slaps hard...

Anonymous said...

thanks for the great review & support!

chris (ata)

Anonymous said...

where´s the download link?? you moron!!