Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Annotations of An Autopsy - II: The Reign of Darkness


Band: Annotations of An Autopsy
Album: II: The Reign of Darkness
Genre: Death Metal/Deathcore

Newly transformed death metal band Annotations of An Autopsy delivers their first full-length album since switching genres from the stale realm of deathcore.  This album is definitely a move in the right direction for the band in terms of musical growth, but there are still areas in which the band relies heavily on the chug-a-lug breakdowns that somehow made them famous.

Lets be honest.  The genre of deatchore catches a lot of flack for being a lazy genre.  But, after hearing a lot of the music that is popular in the genre, it is easy to see why.  Most bands rely too heavily on mindless breakdowns and poor lyrical essence.  Clearly, Annotations of An Autopsy wanted to prove themselves as musicians on this album.  I don't know if I can say their efforts fully payed off.  True, this album has some good ol' death metal influence to it.  But, just because there is influence, doesn't mean it's good.  Most of the tracks on this album feel rushed, and as if they are only there for filler.  The riffs have a tendency to build to a stupidly slow breakdown that sounds far too familiar for my liking.  There are guitar solos in the most random spots in songs, and the drums seem to be doing the same exact thing every track, while the bass is completely inaudible.  With this release, it seems like the band had a bunch of riffs that they had written, and decided to throw together in random order without any time or thought.

The poor structure leads to a lack of emotion in the music.  For most death metal bands these days, it seems pretty clear about what they are pissed off about.  I get the feeling through the music that the band produced, that they don't really know why they are pissed, other then because they are supposed to to fit in.  While this album was aimed to establish them as a death metal act to be taken seriously, it has really only reduced them to that awkward kid that stands in the corner at a party talking to himself.

The final thing that truly bugged me about this album were the lyrics.  I'm going to be frank.  They sound like they were written by a five year old, and they are on the same level as the lyrics displayed on Howl's "Full of Hell" album.  The only difference between the two is that "Full of Hell" has some good music to drown out the awful lyrics.  The same can't be said for "II: The Reign of Darkness."  The piss-pour lyrical content is clearly displayed in tracks such as "In Snakes I Bathe," where the lyrics "You make me fucking sick" are present at least six different times in the song.  Again, the songs feel like filler.  If all you're coming up with is "You make me fucking sick" over and over again, it sounds like you need a new writing implement.

Though there are a lot of negative aspects to this album, it isn't all awful.  Songs like "Catastrophic Hybridization" and "Impale the Sun" show that there is some driving force of death metal on the album.  The band actually formed some decent riffs that were head-bang worthy.  Unfortunately, said riffs didn't last long enough, and transpired into nothing more then another heartless breakdown.  All the same, it's a serious step in a good direction.  Hopefully on their next release, there will be more music like it.

All in all, this album was a failed attempt at being a legitimate death metal release.  The band reverted back to their lazy roots far too much, and didn't spend nearly enough time making fresh, quality music.  The riffs, solos, and drum beats are all too bland and stale to give the album any more presence then a stale bag of marshmallows.  Do yourself a favor and skip this album if you are into real death metal.  If you're more of a deathcore listener, then chances are you'll be enjoying this album a lot more than I will.

Score: 4/10

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