Annotations Of An Autopsy – Before The Throne Of Infection

Annotations Of An Autopsy sort of pulled a Job For A Cowboy in their EP to LP move, dropping the majority of their metalcore sound in favor of a more straightforward approach to modern brutal death metal.  Unlike Job For A Cowboy, however, Annotations Of An Autopsy were pretty good at the deathcore thing, so the loss of the metalcore elements doesn’t come entirely to the relief of the listening populace.  The new stuff is still good, though; that is, if you like modern brutal death metal with a touch of -core infiltrating the sound.  While there aren’t really ‘breakdowns’ anymore, you can still clearly hear how this is brutal death metal for a -core crowd.  Your enjoyment of this will largely depend on how much you can stomach that idea.  I don’t really mind it, so I think it’s a fun album.

Annotations Of An Autopsy plays that sort of -core-brushed brutal death metal with an epic aesthetic, again much like newer Job For A Cowboy.  But instead of the Behemoth worship that our ignominiously treated American friends like to exercise, Annotations Of An Autopsy is moderately more unique in style, particularly in the guitar department, which sees fit to burst out with vast yet dissonant, almost Meshuggah-inspired guitar solos along with a variety of riffing styles.  Vocals are a shout-expressed growl without much to recommend for it; in music with such a dramatic presence I would expect a little bit more, but maybe it’s an attempt to make the subject matter more palatable to a metalcore crowd.  I find that it gets dwarfed by the ridiculously overblown production on this album, with its nine hundred-tracked guitars and stupidly thundering double bass and almost non-stop bass drops.  Speaking of double bass, though, the drum performance on this release is commendable: fast, grooving, and nicely fitting the style of the music.  Throw the Toshi art on it and you have an album that’s silly but still enjoyable in its silliness.

While I still have my angry face on because the band chose not to re-record the mighty ‘Gore Gore Gadget’ for this album, the selection of tracks on display is pretty solid; fan classic ‘Sludge City’ with its chanted vocals (that appear on a couple other tracks as well) benefits from the slightly altered riffs and fuller production.  ‘Keeper Of The Plaguelands’ is a very good opener (after the meaningless opening instrumental, of course) with dramatic riffing and and sort of gradually unfolding late Behemoth-style grandiosity.  ‘Fisted To The Point Of Regurgitation’ has a title that doesn’t give the song a chance to possibly live up to, but it still manages to be pretty good despite being dwarfed by its moniker.  ‘Years Of Disgust’ is also a very solid one, with bass drops galore and Waking The Cadaver-inspired tremolo riffing.  The rest of the album is sort of middling but still listenable even at its worst.  I guess you could accuse it of being unremarkable with more or less an accurate sentiment.  This isn’t really music that’s about being remarkable anyway though.

Really I’m sort of split on my feelings towards this album, because while it’s enjoyable on a primitive level, it lacks everything in the way of depth.  When the band DOES try to go for depth it’s comical, like on the admirable but awkward and sad acoustic interlude ‘The Childsnatcher’.  I get the idea they’re going for, but it’s not enough that I can see what you’re trying to do; you have to do some of the legwork yourself.  My imagination only goes so far.  It’s good music, but only from a sort of shallow perspective; if I want something with more depth, there’s a LOT of bands out there who are just as good and manage to infuse a little bit more meaning into their music.  It could be dumb of me to expect that from a brutal death metal band, but either this is lacking something or my inherent pretense can only rationalize so much.  It’s well composed and performed, but I wish they’d gone a bit further.


~ by noktorn on May 7, 2008.

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