CD, Old Europa Café, 2006
Autopsia have an impressive history of making singular, inspired music that spans genres. In fact, the only common thread binding their massive discography together is the pervading sense of impending doom that typifies this Czech outfit. “The Berlin Requiem” is therefore no surprise in terms of subject matter and atmospheric content.
If laments, dirges or threnodies are your everyday listening material, then this release will excite you and most definitely please you. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a slow descent into suicidal depression. The funereal quality of the music is deeply emotive: I have heard a fair amount of neo-classical and gothic neo-folk, but rarely is it quite as charged or provocative as this selection of seven obscure, droning dark ambient tracks.
In that regard, then, Autopsia returns to a scene saturated with dance music clichés and distorted vocal effects and summarily proceeds to redefine the role of darkness in music today. Sadly, the quality of the music itself doesn’t live up to this promise of reclusive melancholia. The arrangements are monotonous (to the point of inducing a trance-like state – possibly an intended side effect) and the instrumentation is somewhat tinny and overtly electronic; perhaps the use of traditional instruments would have improved this sound quality. In fact, only on “Radical Machine,” where this digital nature is emphasized and even exploited as an integral element of the song structure, does it actually feel like it belongs. For followers of Autopsia’s earlier offerings, this track may ring the most nostalgia bells, too. This is followed by the ten-minute “Sounds for Remembering Death,” which is, admittedly, a cleverly engineered piece of work, if a bit drawn out, but nevertheless a monumental end to an extremely intense recording.
— David vander Merwe