Review Summary: Autopsy killing it like it's 1991.
Autopsy is a band that needs no introduction. Throughout their career, they have released (mostly) consistent, high quality death metal that pummels the listener into oblivion. However, most would agree that the pinnacle of Autopsy’s catalog is their 1991 opus, Mental Funeral
, which perfectly combined elements of doom with prime death metal. 23 years later, Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves
(hereafter referred to as THG
) comes along, not even a year after their previous album, The Headless Ritual
, and boy, does it deliver. The doom is back, the aggressive death metal is still there, and the near-perfect combination of the two makes for an album to rival Mental Funeral.
Right off the bat, Autopsy bludgeons the listener with the unadulterated death metal opener, "Savagery". It’s fast, it’s brutal, it’s Autopsy; but this track in no way properly sets up the heights that are to come. "King of Flesh Ripped", the second track, is more representative of what is to come: a sludgy, doomy riff starts things off, which becomes groovier as it progresses. The first part of the song sticks to this formula, though the riffs speed up to a perfect combination of groove, sludge, and death metal. Then, out of nowhere, things kick into high gear as a brutal assault of death metal is unleashed. This is THG
: every element combining to make the album an unnatural force to be reckoned with. Whether it’s the plodding doom/sludge in "The Howling Dead" and "Burial", the fast death metal of "Savagery", or the glorious combination of the two in every other track, there is never a dull moment in THG
. Every second fits, right down to the epic, Electric Wizard-on-speed sounding closer, "Autopsy".
It’s hard to single out any weak spots in the album aside from the opener, and perhaps the fact that, well, Autopsy has pretty much done this before. Of course THG
is its own album and distinguishable from Mental Funeral
(as one would hope from albums with 23 years between them), but it doesn’t feel quite as perfect as that album, perhaps because Mental Funeral
was the first Autopsy to nail the sound presented here. Aside from those minor gripes, THG
shows that the band is not slowing down or declining in quality, an impressive feat for an older death metal band. No two songs sound the same, and the high standards are upheld throughout. The lyrics are Autopsy lyrics, so of course not earth-shattering, but they do the job. A mention should go to the production, which helps the album tremendously: it’s just gritty enough to make the instruments sound vile, but clear enough so that nothing is lost in the mix (aside from the bass, which never really showcases much).
When a band like Autopsy release a powerhorse of an album like THG
, it gives hope for death metal, which some consider to be a stale, perhaps even dying genre. Sure, it doesn't top Mental Funeral
, but you will be too busy banging your head and punching the nearest child to care about it. Death metal isn’t going anywhere and isn’t stagnating, and Autopsy is here to annihilate anyone who says otherwise.
King of Flesh Ripped
The Howling Dead
After the Cutting
Oh come on, just buy the album already, it’s all sick.