Sound — 7
Annotations Of An Autopsy arose to notoriety with their 2007 debut EP "Welcome To Sludge City" back in 2007, making them a stand out group in their genre for their "brutal" breakdowns, heavy riffs, ear piercing "bree's" and their somewhat gratuitous lyrical content ("She bled from every f--king hole" - "Welcome To Sludge City", "Calve your C-nt like a 6ft ditch" - "Human Dust"). Five years on and two full lengths ("Before The Throne Of Infection" - 2008 and last years "Reign Of Darkness") they have released their second EP "Dark Days". An almost complete change of sound would come across nothing new to AOAA fans, with last year's "Reign Of Darkness" taking a more "90s death metal feel", (according to vocalist Steve Regan) giving the album a different, more traditional death metal feel than their debut "Before The Throne Of Infection", "Dark Days" takes fans to a completely different level sound wise. Whilst they still maintain their heavy, sludgy riffs that echo through their previous releases, it can't be avoided when listening to the album that Emmure spring to mind. Ditching the grotesque and violent lyrics of their previous albums AOAA have decided that they're from "the hood" on this effort, songs such as "Buried In A Bad Rep" illustrate this clearly. Given Emmure's success earlier this year with Speaker of the Dead could this album possibly be an indication that AOAA intend to jump on the band wagon? That's for you to decide. Despite this being the major criticism with this EP I think they pull it off well in their own way and will probably appeal to a different fan base with this effort.
Lyrics — 5
As previously mentioned with the lyrical content of the EP, the group seem to have ditched the gory lyrics of their previous albums and re-emerged from "the hood". The lyrics seem to lack conviction and Steve Regan (vocalist) is certainly not Jamey Jasta (lyrically), but the opening gang shout on album opener "Buried In A Bad Rep" ("so suck my f--king dick") comes across more laughable than intimidating and echoes similarities to Emmure however I felt Emmure pull it off far better. On the contrary to this there are there are some very good gang shouts and sing-along's that will play well better live than on the recording citing single "Stage Breaker" as a really strong live track.
Overall Impression — 7
This album is somewhat of a shock and many people don't seem to know what to make of it, in some respects I believe they will alienate some older fans but at the same time will probably gain more fans from the Hardcore scene and possible escalate them into being something a lot bigger than they are. Despite the obvious criticisms I would advise people who haven't experienced AOAA previous work to start with this EP and embrace it as for older fans it's down to personal digressions. If you're an Emmure fan I would advise this purchase, and I would recommend people check out the single "Stage Breaker" as it is the strongest track on the album. If this album were lost or stolen I wouldn't buy it again, but this EP is merely a mile stone in what is yet to expect from this English Deathcore mob.