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Their third album since returning in 2011 after a sixteen year hiatus finds Autopsy do more of what they are best at: Spitting out seething, crust-caked death metal/thrash with grinding intensities and occasional doomy breakdowns. And whether choosing to gun the engines with Slayer-inspired speed or opting to scale things down a tad with Sabbath-esque slow sludginess, the intensity level remains in the red throughout. The only thing that is missing from 2014’s “Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves” is the technical bass playing of four-string virtuoso Steve DiGiorgio. Other than that, this is a true return to form for the band, an album that harkens back to their glory days (i.e. 1989’s “Severed Survival”), the period that was long before the time they went on to influence a whole new generation of gore-metallers like Cannibal Corpse.
Cuts like the album’s thunderous opener, “Savagery,” get by mainly on crashing, clattering cymbal rides, booming riffs, deranged soloing, and retching vocals, thus making them brutally filth-caked slabs of splatter-house death-thrash. And even slower ventures, like “King Of Flesh Ripped,” an ominously mid-tempo venture with a greater emphasis on guitar soloing, never fail to relent in their intensity. This is thanks mostly due to the fact that the grindcore-esque vocals are bah-roo-tal, and are filthy enough to sound positively wet in your ears. Of course, said song does eventually speed up and plunge into blistering deathgrind territory after a screaming solo comes shredding through the mix maybe three-quarters of the way into the track. And immediately following this excursion, the album gets right back into the thick of things with “Tourniquets,” a meaty, groove-happy death-thrash melee with raspy, shrieking vocals that trade off with brutally low growls, and do so to excellent effect. And a guitar solo, which is positively wailing, is also tacked on to the tail end of the tune.
“The Howling Dead” is another one of the album’s more memorable moments, although it is a bit of an anomaly, as it finds a creeping, spoken-word vocal dialogue being laid over thunderously grooving guitar and grumbling bass riffs. The end result is one terrifically portentous, skin-crawling, spine-tingling, and doom-y-tinged cut with ominous ambiance and flailing, shredding solos. But all bets are again off for the blistering “After The Cutting,” an old-school-influenced pure grindcore jaunt with groove-centric riffing, awesome drum fills, noteworthy bass work, careening, Repulsion-ish soloing, and grindcore-worthy vocal belching.
And working similarly to the already mentioned “King Of Flesh Ripped,” “Forever Hungry” kick-starts with a decisively slower intro before dissolving into rip-roaring death-grind thrashiness with guitar leads that race in reckless abandon, pounding, cracking blast beats, and bottom-heavy bass grumbles. Frontman Chris Reifert’s vocals, meanwhile, are of the traditional goregrind style, imitating Carcass’ Jeff Walker without a hint of irony, and “Forever Hungry” is further highlighted by a few more wild, unorthodoxly shredding solo runs, too.
The second half of the album kicks off with one of its catchiest cuts in “Teeth Of The Shadow Horde,” which is filled with adherently groovy and memorable riffs, crashing drum beats, and blistering solos. Then, following “All Shall Bleed” (a simple little interlude track that serves as a perfectly-placed monotony breaker), we are treated to the first of the set’s two final doomy ventures in the decisively ominous “Deep Crimson Dreaming,” whose plodding, drawn-out cadence is punctuated perfectly by piercing solos (including one wah-tinged one that easily takes the cake for being the finest solo on the whole album!). And the second of these two doom-centric ditties is “Burial,” which marries another terrifically dark and memorable, doom-soaked guitar lick against plodding, crawling rhythms, and brutal pig squeal vocals. “Burial” does have a fast, adrenaline-packed conclusion, though, where the guitarists blistering, careening solos.
And the conclusion of said song flows perfectly into Autopsy’s namesake title track, which is also the set’s thrash-it-out recklessly closer that overflows with more memorable riffs, solos, and lyrics. But this is all after the inclusion of “Parasitic Eye,” which is sandwiched between the two above-described doomy ventures, and one of the record’s more memorable inclusions. It opens with a fabulous, air-guitar-able (and surprisingly melodic) solo section before once again catapulting head-first into grinding death-thrash-dom with fiery guitar leads and dexterous double-time drum pummel. Some memorably catchy vocal patterns also pepper the mix, here, as well.
A macabre (and mostly masterful) extreme metal monster.