Autopsy - Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves - (7/10)
Published on April 19, 2014
Tying another one off.
It looks like a 16-year hiatus is just what the doctor ordered for Oakland’s Autopsy, death metal pioneers who apparently have little intention of slowing their momentum since returning with 2010’s The Tomb Within EP and their lauded 2011 comeback album, Macabre Eternal. After releasing last year’s The Headless Ritual, another faithfully horrific limb of grisly death highlighted by tracks like “Slaughter at Beast House” and “She is a Funeral,” the quartet have reemerged from the crypt with Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves – oh, my – a record that continues their trend of abattoir nostalgia and terrific cover art (Wes Benscoter).
If you’re well-versed in the trade of Autopsy, then surprises should be at a minimum with Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves. The band ply death metal with a concerted focus on graveyard ambiance spliced with meaty riffs and devilish solos. Autopsy have never needed aid in penning riffs, and they don’t here, wielding a mortician’s case of 90’s death metal cutlery and sharpening the saws with a modern edge. As they have across their careers, Autopsy thrive off of their ability to transport the listener to the scene of a funeral or massacre, toiling at a pace never too far from that of a mid-tempo jaunt. It’s old school from the old school and these things, as you know, rarely change.
Saying that, one of the more unconventional songs on Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves must assuredly be “Deep Crimson Dreaming.” Coolly strummed and wisely drummed, Chris Reifert’s gurgles and a lolling bass from Joe Allen not only lend the song a distinct beauty to its melancholy madness, but it allows it to sound completely different from its rattling brethren. Follow-up “Parasitic Eye” nearly follows suit before eventually ghost-riding into territory a tad more familiar, although it exists as one of the album’s speedier four minutes. “Burial” moves at a dragging pace, offering up a template of fat riffs, plodding drums, and a foggy atmosphere before the casket drops and all goes haywire in the last minute or so.
The impetus to listen to or, perhaps, purchase Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves lies in Autopsy’s ability to create horror-show death metal with a strict old school flair, never overdoing the splatter or the jump-scares, intent on balancing both. There’s pungency and there’s talent, and the band utilize them effectively, although the final result never really makes the listener coil back from stench or versatility. Tracks like “The Howling Dead” and “After the Cutting” cough up precisely the type of slogging and ghastly grue Autopsy fans should be eager to delve into.
This should be good.