Metal Review – Autopsy: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves

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Metal Review – Autopsy: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
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Autopsy: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
Death Metal
Peaceville Records
April 21st, 2014
Release length: 49:01
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Ever since reforming back in 2009 after a roughly sixteen year hiatus, Autopsy has wasted no time in rising to the height of Death Metal domination. 2010 saw the release of their reunion EP The Tomb Within before unleashing Macabre Eternal a year later, their first new album since 1995’s Shitfun. Two compilations, a live DVD and another full-length later, Autopsy return with their third studio album titled Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves, a nice summary for the band’s material itself matched by the group’s return to hand drawn (or at least it appears to be) artwork vulgarity that has been missing on recent releases. But does this new outing only solidify the band’s presence in the Death Metal world, or does it show that ground they stand upon beginning to give out?

Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves actually starts off with the aptly titled “Savagery.” This face-shredding cut is a short explosion of violence with solid drumming that backs crushing low-tuned guitars that are largely performing simple held riffs that rely heavily on the enthusiasm captured all around them, and it pays off well. “Parasitic Eye” matches the intensity with plain old early Death Metal speed and even some melodic hooks towards the end to slow things down, though done in a way that nearly mimicks “Hallowed Be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden. “Forever Hungry” matches this cut with a voracious appetite. The furious assault of the main verses gives way to maddening guitar riffs that push the track’s concept perfectly against the guttural vocal performance that does maintain the echo of the louder roaring and borderline shouting that lines the release.

This album also sees its share of slower paced material that dredges the depths of decrepit brutality. “King of Flesh Ripped” ends up a slow burn, pacing itself nicely with the drumming to lead into what most of this release is about. Vile, trudging and truly haunting music builds up to a nice amount of variety that includes a quick bit of firey hostility before crashing into Doom Metal hopelessness. It all works well with the rawer audio quality to present a truly putrid listening experience with some impressive guitar solos to boot. “Deep Crimson Dreaming” is made up largely of mid-tempo material and booming bridges, but it’s a truly addicting slab of emotionally driven Death Metal that treads the line between Rock and Blues at times. But what really stands out are the start and finish to the song, both of which establish a truly unsettling sensation of being trapped in a nightmare you cannot awaken from.

There are some tracks here that can go off the beaten path a bit. “The Howling Dead” starts off with a spoken word segment similar to the narrative on “Black Sunshine” by White Zombie before folding into a trudging ritualistic performance with the prayer being read aloud by that of a madman. The upbeat groove that follows is kind of place, and even a little out there thanks to the hint of psychedelic/Stoner Rock and hallucinogenic guitar solo. “Teeth of the Shadow” retains a hint of that Rock vibe in the main verses, but makes it a bit dirty before the catchy chorus hammers away at your skull. Other than what sounds like the guitar layering not syncing up at fifty-one seconds in, the climax here shows traces of Hardcore influence reminiscent of the chorus to “Johnny Black” by Pro-Pain.

While Autopsy has been hammering out some solid releases as of late, Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is easily their most diverse since reuniting. At the surface it sounds like your every day mixture of Death Metal and Doom Metal with raw, haunting or vile consequences imposed to the listener. But when you dig down deep you can find Stoner Rock, NWOBHM, psychedelics, even some Hardcore thrown into the mix, you can’t help but feel there’s more to unearth, compelling you to come back and explore further. Vulgar, disgusting, and often quite unsettling, Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is one of the band’s strongest releases to date that will surely appeal to fans, but mores o those willing to take the time to sit down, listen, and fully experience this effort.

01. Savagery – 2:22
02. King of Flesh Ripped – 4:43
03. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves – 4:03
04. The Howling Dead – 5:59
05. After the Cutting – 3:37
06. Forever Hungry – 4:40
07. Teeth of the Shadow Horde – 3:28
08. All Shall Bleed – 1:12
09. Deep Crimson Dreamin – 5:13
10. Parasitive Eye – 4:10
11. Burial – 3:46
12. Autopsy – 5:47
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Autopsy
Autopsy

Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.