All Tomorrow’s Funerals
posted on 3/2012 By:
All Tomorrow’s Funerals compiles the EPs released by long-running Californian death metal troupe Autopsy, spanning both periods of their career from their early-1990s heyday to their resurrection in the new millennium. Starting with 2010’s The Tomb Within and sequenced in reverse chronology through 2009’s Horrific Obsession, 1992’s Fiend For Blood and 1991’s Retribution For The Dead, Funerals transcends throwaway status by tossing in some new material, including the Velvet Underground-punning title track (which sounds nothing at all like anything Lou Reed-related, thankfully), as well as a re-recording of the band’s 1987 demo tune “Mauled To Death.”
The new songs fit snugly within Autopsy’s sound and style – old-school death metal runs headlong into crawling doom passages, and the whole thing is caked in a palpable filth. The titular track displays the band’s cross-genre blend in one fell swoop: It starts slowly for a few bars before jumping up to a running gait beneath dueling death vocals and then stopping dead with an a cappella vocal that dumps into a pounding drive – then the whole thing suddenly decelerates to a trudging crawl and dies at a wheezing pace. Of the new tunes, the best is “Broken People,” which just simply rocks, even with its broken-down midsection, and the most interesting is undoubtedly “Maggot Holes,” which lives up to the promise within its kick-ass title by lumbering along atop a four-on-the-floor kick drum, a truly gnarly riff, guttural screams and two minutes of squalling guitars. That one’s not the fastest or the most punishing tune on hand, but it’s the ugliest, by far.
Longtime fans will likely be familiar with most of Funerals, with the four EPs of previously released material – but it’s good to have them in one place, and especially so, since some are of limited pressing and some are hard to find these days, but sadly (or perhaps not so), in today’s digital age, nothing is truly out of print. The Tomb Within is the sound of post-reformation Autopsy – it’s solid as hell, but not quite as immediate or as visceral as their earlier releases. Nevertheless, it’s Autopsy doing what they do, and moments like the killer introductory riffage of “My Corpse Shall Rise” show why this band has long stood at the top of the death metal heap. Funerals falters a bit through the Fiend For Blood material, which was the band treading water creatively, but rights itself as it reverses into Retribution For The Dead, three songs that originally bridged the gap between the band’s twin classics, Severed Survival and Mental Funeral. Retribution shows the band in full-on doom/death mode, its tracks largely slow and sludgy and tormented, and its material stands among the strongest on hand – the trudging title track is a brilliant tome of tar-tempo-ed trampling, whilst the classic “In The Grip Of Winter” appears here in an earlier form than upon Mental Funeral.
On the sonic front, all of Funerals’ previously existing tracks were remastered by the band, so the album flows nicely from start to finish, though the reverse-chronological set-up does show things getting a bit rawer towards the end. (The step between Tomb and the 90s material is particularly pronounced, production-wise, though it’s certainly not detrimental. It’s just the nature of the beast.)
At best, most compilations of this nature are merely one-stop shopping for a variety of scattered releases, and All Tomorrow’s Funerals certainly serves that purpose brilliantly. But it's more -- by adding in an additional EPs worth of worthy new material, it makes itself more appealing than a mere collection of the already offered. Autopsy’s career has been notably spotty – their first two records are certified classics, but then subsequent releases floundered. Post-reformation, they’ve inhabited a comfortable groove without reaching their earlier heights. Funerals’ new material sits squarely within that groove – and overall, All Tomorrow’s Funerals proves itself a handy collection of some filthy doomed-down death, both new and old.
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