Seared Flesh--Hold the TomatoFor the most part, I haven't been devoting much time to the simple pleasures of death metal. But there's only so much depressing folk and doom I listen to before I've got to break out the audio junk food. To pair with the reliable joys of death metal, I'll be breaking out the
Empatic: Ruined Landscape
3 out of 5 stars
When I think of the audio junk food type of death metal, I of course think of Poland. But even as far as Poland is concerned, Empatic stands out as pure pulp. Sometimes, that's what you need. They combine death metal (with some small resemblance to Behemoth) with very strong influences from big-name, groove-inflected death metal like DevilDriver, Lamb of God, and Dååth. It's extremely accessible, with moshing breakdowns and leads that any metal fan could latch onto. This is the McDonald's cheeseburger of death metal.
Embrional: Annihilation 2007 + Live
3 out of 5 stars
To cheaply draw in customers, many American fast food chains will add a load of jalapeño peppers to an existing menu item. That's a less-than-fully-considered, but distinct pleasure. Embrional (also of Poland) is like that. They try to make their death metal sound nuts, but it isn't fully realized like Demilich or Mitochondrion. Seasickness-inducing riffs played at high speed are still fun, regardless. This is a combination of an earlier demo and some live tracks, so it's possible they're getting better, but the Slayer cover at the end is easily the best track on here.
Autopsy: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
4 out of 5 stars
Even more than Polish death metal, Autopsy represents the pinnacle of unhealthy, cheap taste in death metal. The band has been steadily rolling along, and Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves represents one more reliable entry in their post-reunion catalog. Zombies and mutilation--that's where it's at; the heaviness, speed, tempo shifts, and ugly vocals are everything you'd expect, done well. This is the Burger King Whopper of death metal: Not the best, but reliably pretty good, and sometimes you just have to have one.