Live Report: Autopsy w/ Funebrarum, Unearthly Trance, Undergang

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Editor’s Note: Today’s double-shot of live Autopsy coverage is meant to celebrate these very rare Autopsy shows, which culminate at Maryland Deathfest today.

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AUTOPSY w/ Funebrarum, Unearthly Trance, Undergang
The Bell House, Brooklyn
Friday, May 4th

There’s trouble in the air tonight. Maybe it’s just Friday, the cliff over the yawning weekend that allows harried Average Vargs to dive into a void lacking in obligation. Maybe it’s the coming supermoon, a combination of the full moon and the earth’s perigee to its lunar satellite that makes the big cheese wheel look especially huge and luminous. Maybe it’s death metal legends Autopsy playing their first US show in 19 years at a large, sprawling venue not often frequented by New York’s extreme elite. For whatever reason, an atmosphere of reckless abandon permeates the Bell House. This night is meant to get gross. Next Tecate bomber’s on me.

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Speaking of gross, Copenhagen’s Undergang bring carnal sickness in tidal waves. Their rattling downtuned brand of chugging death metal, reminiscent of a more rhythmic Mortician, is the perfect appetizer for a night of blood-drenched mayhem, and goes well with their festering logo (always good to hear a band as talented as their logo suggests). As their set oozes along, they thank the crowd and pump their fists for Autopsy, further cementing them as a metalhead’s metal band—fans as well as musicians.

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By the time New York’s own Unearthly Trance hit the stage, the alcohol has done its work, and the crowds piling up in the Bell House seem thoroughly soused. Trance’s brand of crushing morbid doom metal is huge and creepy, but might not be what the audience is looking for. This crowd holds more of the punk-crust-splatter-lowlife line, that old-school death metal mindset that seems perpetually both outdated and more fun than pretty much anything else. Still, the locals hold their own, and their faster material towards the end possesses enough spark to please even the most jaded Master devotees in attendance.

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Funebrarum take their time setting up, but the result is a much-welcome explosion of melody-driven brutal death metal. But not only is the music a lesson in violence, but the band’s stage presence also breathes friendly violent fun. Vocalist Daryl Kahan does a good job of lurching scarily around the stage, his gut seeming to fill the room with T-shirt coated terror, while bassist Dave Wagner wears one of the more terrifying scowls in all of death metal, out-Anselmoing the competition with his furrowed brow and cruel sneer. The set is solid, though plagued by sound fuzziness which makes many of the separate pieces of the music blur fuzzily together.

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By the time Autopsy take the stage, everyone’s fucking polluted, and it’s just great. The death metal legends don’t go for any fanfare, instead walking on and going right into crusher “Hand of Darkness” off of recent classic Macabre Eternal, then heading right back to the classics with “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay” off of Mental Funeral. The next hour-plus of nauseous death metal leaps back and forth across the band’s gut-wrenching career, each song swollen with the same infectious chugs and perverse groaning leads that made the band the scene staples they are. Drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert grunts and growls expertly, while guitarist Danny Coralles mauls his instrument like a ravenous ghoul. By the end of the set, the audience—plentiful though a little underwhelming, what the fuck, people, come out, it’s Autopsy—is content, bellies great with the putrid morbidity and tepid suds.

— Scab Casserole

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