The County Medical Examiners – Olidous Operettas

I love it when the first few seconds of an album is enough to tell you that you’re already in love with it. In this case, ‘Casper’s Dictum’, the ultimate tribute to ‘Necrotisim – Descanting The Insalubrious’, with its double bass, tom, and snare, was enough to tell me that, yes, the Examiners are back! It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of 2002’s ‘Forensic Fugues And Medicolegal Medleys’, and was eagerly awaiting a second full-length offering from everyone’s favorite Carcass clone. Not only do we get a return from this band, but we get what must be one of the biggest steps up in quality between releases that I’ve ever seen.

While the previous LP focused upon the goregrind sound of ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ and ‘Symphonies Of Sickness’, ‘Olidous Operettas’ is a much more death metal-based album, primarily based on the aforementioned ‘Necroticism’ with a surprising pinch of ‘Swansong”s rocking sound on tracks such as ‘Morgagnic Anatomics’. A clear comparison could be drawn to the newest material coming out of the Impaled camp: heavy, groovy death metal with a bit of rock and roll for flavor. Not to say that this release isn’t brutal: there’s plenty of blasting and grinding for fans of The County Medical Examiners’ earlier work. However, the focus has mostly certainly shifted to a tighter, more focused sound, and not at all to the detriment of the compositions on this LP. The occasionally melodic riffing on this LP is superb, notable examples including the soon-to-be-infamous opening of ‘Casper’s Dictum’ or the modern DM sound in the middle of ‘Necrotic Apologues’. Another extremely surprising addition is the inclusion of a few (even more surprisingly) melodic solos that actually don’t suck (a quick ten-second one on ‘The Virchow Postmortem Procedure’ is a favorite among myself and friends).

But what drives the quality of the music here up even further is absolutely fantastic production. Nice and grimy while still maintaining necessary instrumental clarity, it truly sets the bar as to what modern death metal production should be: not crystal clear, but preserving the oldschool sound that we all know and love. Perhaps the crown jewel of it is the drum production, reminiscent of, oddly enough, Mayhem’s ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’: full, rich, and tremendously resonant, as if it had been recorded in an empty autopsy suite. This all serves to form a fantastic bed for the delightful Carcass-style dual vocals, possessing just as much vindictive rhythm and texture as they always have. Truly, this LP is a pleasure to listen to.

Rarely does one come across an instance where a band is both able to keep the purity of their previous works while at the same time appealing to a wider audience. This is one such case. I’d highly advise those who were turned off by the sound of ‘Forensic Fugues And Medicolegal Medlys’ to check out ‘Olidous Operettas’, which is an unbelievable step up in terms of quality. That goes for the rest of you too: this is a definite ass kicker in every way.

(Originally written for


~ by noktorn on February 11, 2007.

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