2010's The Reign of Darkness is only the second full-length release by England's Annotations of an Autopsy (and their first for Nuclear Blast), but it already sees them fighting to break free from their formative deathcore shackles, following in the footsteps of scene leaders like Job for a Cowboy, All Shall Perish, Carnifex, et al, into the brave new world of…death metal? Yes, where popular music trends are concerned, it appears that the future is in the past and vice-versa (or something like that), and so, Annotations of an Autopsy's sophomore outing sees predictable breakdowns (largely) jettisoned, squealing harmonics silenced, and that seemingly endless parade of churning, downtuned sludge-thrashing augmented by foreboding doom passages, frequently adorned by cascading melodic solos. Conversely, the band's previously sex-and-gore-obsessed approach to lyric-writing (a common trait of the earliest death metal bands) has grown up, so to speak, and now deals in no less pessimistic but certainly more mature (and hardcore-like) social/political commentary, often shadowed by dark realms of fantasy. Overall, there are still only a handful of tracks really standing out from the moshing maelstrom -- including the trend-setting opener "In Snakes I Bathe," the furiously apocalyptic "Emptiness," and the sci-fi nightmare scenario of "Cryogenica" -- but at least the seeds of creative flourishing have been sowed. If reaped accordingly, Annotations of an Autopsy may well transcend their original style's rather confining templates (so confining it's gone out of style even faster than most trendy metallic subgenres), in order to make a name for themselves as a more versatile and long-lasting extreme metal concern.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia