Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is legendary death metal band Autopsy’s seventh full length release, and the third since the bands reformation in 2009. With previous album The Headless Ritual having been released less than a year ago, its a very swift return for the purveyors of dirty, sludgy death metal, and they follow up a good album with an even better one. With a decidely modern production, there’s still a good deal of filth and evil on offer in another great album from Autopsy.
Savagery kicks the album off with a vicious assault of thrashy death metal. Chris Reifert roars away in his somewhat unhinged manner against a backdrop of fast pounding riffage with a great dirty guitar tone, and incredible drumming. Refiert’s always been a tremendous drummer, pounding away with a fearsome rhythm and delivering really creative fills, he gives a great, inventive performance throughout the song, and indeed the album, with lots of technical playing. The slower doomier riffs in the middle of the track give it a thick murky atmosphere, and the solos are fantastic too, fast and technical, with a great piercing tone, Autopsy have always had great solos and they continue that here, they’re some real face melters. Following up with King of Flesh Ripped the band continue in the same great manner with their trademark slow doomy riffs, bringing a dense, crushing atmosphere, while the title track is one of the album’s best, with a slow, groovy riff opening up, before speeding up into a thrashy masterpiece. With a mix of catchy riffs of all tempos to force your head to bang, and some great, vicious vocal lines, it’s a really good catchy track. The solo deserves a special mention too, its absolutely twisted and all over the place, in the best of ways. It sounds evil, deranged and fantastic.
The final two tracks on the album are fantastic, and are sure to become classic Autopsy tracks. Burial is a slow, crushing slab of horror, with some of the best doomy riffs on the album. Suffocatingly heavy with an evil plodding atmosphere, and low, sickening growls, it feels like you’re unable to move, watching in fear while a psychopath slowly buries you alive. And the closer, the eponymous Autopsy is a really fun track. With the lyrics paying homage to previous track titles, it’s like a self-penned tribute to everything that makes Autopsy so great. With yet more fantastic catchy mid paced riffs and a brilliant chorus, its simple but very effective. It’s a great catchy track that’s sure to bring a smile to the lips of any fan of the band.
There are however a few weaker tracks in the middle of the album such as the dull instrumental All Shall Bleed, and Forever Hungry, which don’t stack up so well compared to the rest of the album. Feeling a little like filler, they lumber around without really going anywhere, and are easily forgettable. They’re certainly not bad tracks though, they’re just not as impressive as the rest. One other small problem is the production. It’s just a little bit too clean, it doesn’t sound quite as dirty and raw as it perhaps should. It’s not overly so and it by no means ruins it, but a little less polish and the overall sound would definitely be improved.
Ultimately, if their best album Acts of the Unspeakable was a blast of filth, like being dragged into a disgusting sewer, brutally tortured and slowly, violently killed, Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is like being chased by a vile horde of lumbering zombies. It’s still scary and evil, but not quite up to those lofty standards of ultimate death metal disgust. It’s still a really great release all in all, not their best but damned close, and it shows they’re still one of the best death metal bands around today.