I must admit that it is nice to hear an AUTOPSY album with a good production, especially since the sound clarity accentuates the amazing and underrated compositional skill of these reunited death metal godfathers. Though originality is no longer the focal point, "Macabre Eternal" is a phenomenal album that can stand toe to toe with anything AUTOPSY has ever released, and that includes "Mental Funeral".
In addition to a recording that is comparatively modern, yet well suited to the blood and guts of it all, "Macabre Eternal" has one big advantage over most other death metal albums, including the Stockholm armies: it sounds like nothing other than a fantastic AUTOPSY album. That means that here in this year of your lord 2011, AUTOPSY still sounds unique, ambitious, and deliciously gory.
"The Tomb Within" was damn tasty; but after 65 minutes of "Macabre Eternal" you'll be as stuffed as that poor gluttonous bastard in "Seven". Even more apparent this time around is drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert's rhythmic dexterity; with "no triggered trickery", the guy races, plods, pounds, and splats, whilst deftly utilizing the spaces in between and knocking out crackling fills in the process. And you already know the phlegm-y and 100 percent crazy speak 'n growl vocals go so well with those too-close-for-comfort tales of the twisted. Whether ranting with wide-eyed lunacy about the "sick and insane" on speedy crusher "Hand of Darkness" or dealing with the cold reality of eyes that have "seen too fucking much" on morbid riffster "Deliver me from Sanity". Reifert never sounded so energetic or demonstrated such mastery.
Eric Cutler also gets into the act with lead vocals on three tracks, including his dead-eyed whispers of "you're gonna die" to a hysterically shrieking lass on 11-minute epic "Sadistic Gratification", In fact, it is Culter's equally deranged, yet delightfully different, lead vocals on the just-out of-control-enough-to-fuck-with-your-OCD track "Dirty Gore Whore" that is one of the best on the album and arguably the most psychotic in terms of both lyrics and music. Oh there's more alright; much, much more.
Cutler and fellow axe murderer Danny Coralles create stellar riff after stellar riff and demented solo after demented solo. That's no exaggeration; "Macabre Eternal" offers a rare combination of old-school muck' n sludge and genuine chops. The channel to channel solos during a section of up-tempo romp on the otherwise doomy title track is pure bliss, demanding to be heard through ear buds or headphones. There is just so much here in which to revel. The doom-flow riffing that turns to acoustic-laced spookiness on "Bridge of Bones": the sinister sorrow of the aforementioned "Sadistic Gratification" (and yeah, at 11 minutes it works like a charm); or the "Black Sabbath" takeoff riff toward the end of "Sewn into One", it just goes on and on and on. You may have heard albums with plenty of creatively rotten meat hanging off splintered bones, but you ain't heard shit until you've heard "Macabre Eternal".
Forget everything you've ever learned about comeback albums, as AUTOPSY just shredded the manuals, burned the books, and shat on the ashes. It's not about distance making the heart grow fonder or blind "nostalgia" for the old days. An entire generation of death metal acts took influence from Reifert's zombie freak brigade and ran like hell with it for good reason. AUTOPSY was on to something big in the beginning and it wasn't until years later that the true impact of what they'd wrought was widely recognized. "Macabre Eternal" now arrives to wipe any remaining doubters right off the face of the earth. All hail!