Review by Benjamin on October 3, 2022.
For seasoned death metal maniacs, the appearance of a new Autopsy album is always cause for grim celebration, and with the arrival of Morbidity Triumphant seven years on from their previous full-length, the anticipation this time around is especially fevered. Autopsy have quite simply never let down the expectant listener, and it will surprise exactly no one to discover that that is of course the case with the American institution's ninth album. As soon as the opening strains of the delightfully-titled 'Stab The Brain' rumble into view, the listener immediately relaxes into a familiar state of gleeful torment, as if stepping into a comfortable pair of old shoes, albeit shoes that are unlikely to console the wearer with an anaesthetic before painfully and violently amputating the feet that fill them.
With their rough and ready sound, Autopsy remain the antidote that they have always been to some of the over-polished, over-produced and underwhelming death metal that floods the scene like an overflowing toilet cistern. Despite their advancing years, and time already served in the extreme metal underground, Chris Reifert and co still play ugly, monstrous death metal as if their lives depend on every last blastbeat and down-pick, utterly authentic, utterly monumental, and utterly destroying all pretenders to their throne. Indeed, one could argue that the ageing process was never likely to affect Autopsy in the same way as bands whose carefree youth was in some way intrinsic to their appeal – their music has always been grizzled, awkward and cantankerous, and the band have simply grown into this role as the years have marched on, wearing their battle scars like the badges of honour that they are, revelling in the fury and filth that seeps out of every pore of their being.
It's no criticism to say that Autopsy have progressed little since the classic Severed Survival erupted from the depths in 1989, but that's not to say there aren't some intriguing elements to enjoy on Morbidity Triumphant, alongside the jackhammer blasting, and doomy lurch that still represents the cornerstone of their sound. 'The Voracious One' is one of the grooviest tracks that they have ever released, leaning gently on the kind of death 'n' roll that Entombed once made their own; closer 'Your Eyes Will Turn To Dust' offers a crunching take on classic Slayer; and most entertainingly, the punk and hardcore influences that are generally a more overt component of the Abscess sound creep into a number of tracks here, not least the thunderous 'Born In Blood'. That is, before it devolves before our ears into the kind of nauseating, twisted doom that Celtic Frost built Morbid Tales around.
So much death metal is hampered by the inability of undoubtedly competent musicians to organise their riffs into memorable arrangements, songs and albums forgotten as quickly as they are released. Autopsy, on the other hand, are masters at effortlessly cramming countless rusty hooks into each track, from the infernal (and sneakily technical) harmonised tremolos of 'Tapestry Of Scars' to the brutalising suckerpunch of 'Skin By Skin', on which Reifert's death rattle rasp is hauntingly terrifying. Like syphilis, Autopsy are both infectious, and disgusting. Morbidity Triumphant, a title which could almost be said to symbolise the ongoing and unlikely success of the genre itself, meets and exceeds expectations in style, and Autopsy once against sit at the top of the pile of slain corpses that represents the competition, watching the world burn, and spitting on its charred remnants in the knowledge that they will outlast us all.
Rating: 9.1 out of 10419