Another year nearly finished means another record from death metal legends Autopsy. Whether you call it a full-length or an EP, the purpose is the same: to deliver a spine-splitting affair, complete with twisted, sadistic sounds that the band has always been founded on. In that respect, “Skull Grinder” is a successful release. It is really no different from any of the band’s other work since their resurrection. Autopsy’s sound is still based around inhuman, demonic sounding vocals, regardless of whether they provide a slow, brooding approach (such as the opening section of the title track, or much of “The Withering Death”), or a more visceral, aggressive one.
The latter approach displays high tempos, tremolo-picked riffs, and sonic battery from the drums. It is nothing unique given the band’s past, but it is effective. The slower sound is where things are more interesting. The band makes strong use of dissonance, with wailing solos alongside doomy riffs, often times invoking incredible atmosphere. Some of these riffs would feel at home on a Black Sabbath record, which goes to show how well Autopsy can extract a variety of influences into their music. Even as someone that doesn’t really like much doom, Autopsy’s riffs are compelling, particularly when they lock into a groove.
It’s hard to imagine any fan of the band would be dissatisfied with “Skull Grinder”. The only semi-legitimate complain that can be held against it is the fact that it just doesn’t have enough material. For a band who is releasing things at a record place, it couldn’t hurt to slow down a little bit and come up with a few more songs to put together a full-length. This is particularly worthwhile since there are some tracks on this EP that are not all that enticing musically (“Sanity Bleeds” and “Return To Dead”), and feel more like prolonged interludes than original full songs. These types of songs are no stranger to Autopsy’s music (“Thorns and Ashes” remains a great example from earlier in their discography), but given that this release is already quite short, they just seem to be here to pad the length.
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"The Withering Death"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott