Released: 2014, Peaceville
I imagine there are a couple of camps when it comes to Autopsy. There are those who worship the first three legendary albums and those who prefer the newer reunion era. Nobody likes SHITFUN from 1995. Nobody. It was too weird and stands alone as the dark-horse in the bands catalogue. I fall into the second camp. I grew up listening to my old Autopsy tapes, they are magnificent, but I must admit I find myself listening to the last three Autopsy albums, MACABRE ETERNAL, THE HEADLESS RITUAL and this one, more often. Oddly enough this is the first review of an Autopsy full-length studio album on Metal-Rules.com!
The oddly titled TOURNIQUETS, HACKSAWS AND GRAVES sees the same line-up returning to present another blood-soaked platter of classic Death Metal. The band has been remarkable consistent over the years with virtually no line-up changes, the core of Chris, Danny and Eric playing together since 1989 or earlier. Joe Allen is now on his third album with the band and is the bands longest lasting bassist. Autopsy are still on Peaceville Records after all these years.
The cover art is very slightly similar to the iconic debut album by Cannibal Corpse, EATEN BACK TO LIFE. Compare them and you may spot the similarity. The 12 track, 50-minute album is simply a superb (rotting) specimen of Death Metal. It’s not too fast, not too technical, not too grindy, not too punk, it just hits that sweet spot that will appeal to classic Death Metal enthusiasts such as myself. The songs are all pretty simple in arrangement, short, punishing and bludgeoning. The guitar tone is thick and ripping but cleaner when it comes time for one of the many excellent solos. The vocals of Chris are as guttural as ever. I’ve always admired the vocalist/drummer role. Although the lack of a full-engaging frontman/vocalist can be odd I’m always impressed by the breath control and stamina to sing and drum at the same time. Sure, in the studio he can do it separatly but for a drummer/singer to pull it off live is another matter. Regardless, he sounds as brutal as delivers the death.
The lyrics are chock full of horror and gore but not too sick as to dip into porno-grind territory just for shock value. The lyrics are minimalist, taking one good idea and working it and not getting to wordy like some bands. The stories are the traditional Autopsy fare, zombies and murder and an effectively creepy song about suicide called ‘Deep Crimson Dreaming’. The last song is simply titled ‘Autopsy’. Could this be the bands new signature song?
I believe that with TOURNIQUETS, HACKSAWS AND GRAVES, Autopsy has joined a select group of veteran bands, (bands such as Motorhead, Saxon) that are putting out some of the best material in their careers.