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Album Reviews : Annotations of an Autopsy – The Reign of Darkness

By on March 4, 2010

Annotations Of An Autopsy - II The Reign Of DarknessFor a band that was lumped into the ‘Deathcore’ scene, England’s Annotations of an Autopsy have obviously decided to escape the infamous genre, with this their sophomore album. With Ex-Morbid Angel guitarist and Hate Eternal main-man Erik Rutan in the producer’s chair, ‘The Reign of Darkness’ is a confident slab of modern death metal, while still showing strong influences from the classic early 90’s Death Metal movement.

The changes to AOAA are straight away apparent, with the would be Cannibal Corpse-esque gore-based lyrics being removed in favour of dystopian themed concepts, while man-mountain vocalist Steve Regan’s clichéd ‘pig-squeals’ are replaced by a guttural low growl. These are all great signs of the bands maturity and desire to simply embrace a sound that appeals to their collective selves, as opposed to follow a fashionable trend.

After the somewhat disturbing intro track, “In Snakes I Bathe” bulldozes any pre-conceived expectations of ‘The Reign of Darkness’, with tremolo picked riffs and blast-beating drums bolting from the starting gate, before moving into a Morbid Angel style half time feel. Choice cuts like “Emptiness” and “Impale The Sun” are littered with crushing riffs and Dying Fetus style slam-grooves, while album highlight “Cryogenica” is an absolute beast, with super-catchy riffs wrapped around weaving tempo-changes and hectic drum work.

While not being the most original sounding Death Metal album ever recorded, there are enough elements of Crowbar, Pantera and Behemoth in their sound to keep the album fresh and the listener guessing. The epic album closer “Into The Black Slumber” conjures up memories of Morbid Angel’s “God of Emptiness”, with a plethora of uncomfortable, doomy riffs backed with some of the most insane drum fills this side of Suffocation.

Whether or not ‘The Reign of Darkness’ wins over any of the cynics, or even their old fan-base, it is clear that Annotations of an Autopsy are on a one-way mission to bring the respect and passion back into the current death metal scene – and flatten anybody that stands in their way. 7.5/10

Band: Annotations of an Autopsy
Album: The Reign of Darkness
Year: 2010
Genre: Death Metal
Origin: Lowestoft, England
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot! Entertainment

Track listing:

1. And So It Begins…
2. In Snakes I Bathe
3. Born Dead
4. Bone Crown (Feat. Erik Rutan)
5. Emptiness
6. Catastrophic Hybridization
7. VII The Horror, The Destruction…
8. Impale The Sun
9. Portrait Of Souls
10. Cryogenica <- Reviewers Choice
11. Into The Black Slumber

Review by Andrew Kapper


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.