Tourniquets, Hacksaws & Graves
21 April 2014
by Rob McAuslan
For all the talk that gets bandied around, you’d be forgiven for thinking that every band needs to be on some ceaseless quest for progress. It simply isn’t true; not everyone wants to ‘push the boundaries of what’s possible in music’, or whatever other guff gets spouted around this conceit. Autopsy did their innovating as one of the very earliest bands at the birth of the death metal scene, and their particular brand of gore-flecked nastiness has proven hugely influential for the best part of thirty years. Why fix what’s already broken in the best possible way?
As the third album since their inglorious rebirth, this comes with a lot less pressure than Macabre Eternal did not quite three years ago. Coming off the back of two mostly excellent full-lengths, it feels like the band are setting into a really nice run of form in this incarnation. Autopsy MkI had already started to warp their sound towards more of a punk feel by this point, with Severed Survival proving to be a harbinger rather than an aberration. If 1995’s Shitfun was to be their future direction, then the breakup shortly after wasn’t exactly mourned by many – it looks as if Abscess (their post-Autopsy project) was quite enough punk to last Chris Reifert and Danny Coralles a long time, though.
Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is more of the suffocating, doom-soaked primal death metal that Autopsy are so damn good at. It hearkens back to the vileness of Severed Survival and Mental Funeral in all the right ways, whilst taking advantage of more modern production techniques to really slam their disgusting message home. There are enough things it does better than its most recent predecessors to more than warrant its existence – being shorter than Macabre Eternal by about 20 minutes means there’s no filler, and it has a more compelling atmosphere than The Headless Ritual (which was good, but Reifert’s vocals felt oddly one-dimensional).
Tweaking and refining what’s already practically perfect can sometimes be a thankless endeavour, but it works superbly here to bring us the strongest Autopsy record since their reformation, and one of their greatest to date.
Sounds Like: Grimy, horrible death metal roughly stitched together with huge slabs of skin-crawling doom.
Standout Tracks: Parasitic Eye, After The Cutting, Burial