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Release Date: December 4, 2015
While Autopsy is probably best known for the late eighties/early nineties tour de force of albums that spawned some gruesome and intense truly “heavy” metal, they are quickly becoming just as recognizable as one of the most prolific reunions to date. Having released three albums and now three EPs since reuniting in 2008, the band are finding no shortage of riffs or pissiness in their current camp. Skull Grinder is a vinyl-only EP that follows 2014’s disturbingly brutal Tourniquets, Hacksaws,& Graves.
Skull Grinder opens by rising from the bands Thrash and Death Metal roots with the pummeling “Strung Up and Gutted.” This song, as well as the title track and the slightly more multi-dimensional “Waiting for the Screams,” reminds me of when I first heard these guys (as well as bands like Vengeance Rising, Carcass, and Cannibal Corpse) and how much heavier it was than anything else I’d heard. All three of these songs are musically amazing, especially the guitar work in all it’s cunningly evil glory. The vocals still sound inhuman, so much so that I think vocalist/drummer Chris Reifert may have actually vomited at the end of “Waiting for the Screams”.
The band continues to expand on the more dynamic side of the band that their reunion has brought to light so well. The album’s atmospheric and instrumental closer “Return to Dead” is as haunting as they come. It feels like you are walking through a graveyard during a full moon. The marching “Children of the Filth” starts out as a paint by numbers death metal tune before it goes all Black Sabbath with eerie lead work, acid trip rhythms, and a narrated vocal that makes your skin crawl. Fans of the macabre will be most impressed with this totally over-the-top track!
Honestly, Skull Grinder is so crushing that I’m not sure I could handle a full length at this point. This seven song ear piercer is enough to scare my soul until the next go round. If you like it heavy, batshit crazy, and a whole lot over-the-top then Autopsy, once again, has what you need!
Reviewed by mark1340