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'The Headless Ritual'
(Peaceville Records)

jools green

Jools Green

Autopsy The Headless Ritual

I was pretty excited to hear that Autopsy, the Californian masters of brutality, were set to release their sixth studio album, the cornucopia of horror madness, 'The Headless Ritual', having been satiating my ears with their 2012 compilation 'All Tomorrow's Funerals', the stop gap between this latest offering and 2011s rather excellent, 'Macabre Eternal'.

The band's tantalizing statement about this album; "Expect nothing less than the monstrous brutality that Autopsy has been known to offer. Laurels will not be rested upon, trends will not be followed and mercy will not be shown... Pick out a coffin to lie down and die in. Darkness and death await...", is a bold one indeed, but you will find that this album does exactly what it says on the tin.

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Autopsy, still consisting of Chris Reifert, Eric Cutler, Danny Coralles, and Joe Trevisano, have created in 'The Headless Ritual', an absolute monster of violent and brutal Death Metal mastery brought to you with that unmistakable Autopsy style, awash with chaotic riffs, excitingly insane solos and doom-filled interludes, bloodily bandaged together with Chris Reifert's excellent unhinged sick vocal style.

All the elements throughout the album, the guitars, vocals and drum work are of a consistently high standard, running like a well oiled, crazy machine and each one of the ten tracks, although following Autopsy's classic formula, are individual and unique in their own right and packed with atmosphere. I have no favourite as every track is of the same level of sick excellence.


The album opens with the frantic, fun filled, frenzy, 'Slaughter At Beast House' and continues with 'Mangled Far Below', with its catchy dark plodding beat, a very blackened track with one of the many great guitar segments to be found across the album, sinister yet so enjoyable and with a tremendous atmosphere to the excellent vocals coming from the phrasing and intonation.

With its sonic, ear tormenting opener; 'She Is A Funeral' brings you more blackened riffs to sit alongside the harrowing vocals. The sinister opening riffs on 'Coffin Crawlers' build and pan out into insane, semi spoken, ranting vocals and deranged screams, with drawn out guitar work that sounds almost like a crazy saxophone in places.

'When Hammer Meets Bone' is a frantic and insane pounder with a catchy repeat riff. Short and sharp at under two minutes, 'Thorns And Ashes' is an atmosphere building track. The opening riffs paint a sinister image in your mind, which continues throughout, on 'Arch Cadaver'. A dark and evil repeat riff that rises and falls menacingly on 'Flesh Turns To Dust' and is accentuated by a dark echo to the vocals, a slower, very powerful track.

'Running From The Goathead' is frantic and terrifying in its construct, feel afraid, feel very afraid! Finally the closing track, the instrumental 'The Headless Ritual' opens slowly and with a sinister feel expanding out into a dark doom laden hypnotic riff, a wonderfully harrowing conclusion to an excellent album.

Very few bands, after splitting or taking an extended hiatus should reform, but for me Autopsy are one of the few exceptions to this rule. None of the magic is lost, having first proved this fact with 'Macabre Eternal' and they now reinforcing that decision with this excellent offering, their best album to date.

The album was recorded and mixed at Fantasy Studios in California with Adam Munoz, and the cover artwork is by Joe Petagno (Motörhead, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin).

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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