Autopsy - Tourniquets, Hacksaws and GravesDeath metal often conforms to some pretty strict rules, with the emphasis of complex technical music, frenzied blast beats and deep, guttural vocals which, more often than not, leave you with no idea of what is being said. Not so when it comes to US veterans Autopsy, back with their fourth album since reforming in 2009. They have always gone about things differently to most other bands around and they have continued in this fine tradition and released a ferocious seventh studio album.

The four-piece consists of original members Chris Reifert (drums/vocals), Danny Coralles (guitars) and Eric Cutler (guitars/vocals) along with bassist Joe Trevisano, who joined the band for the 2009 reunion, and they have created a “blood soaked homage to all things dark, twisted and horrific” just as they promised. In keeping with the different approach to most bands of this ilk, the style of Reifert’s tortured, maniacal spewings make some of the depraved lyrics legible, and with this band thats means some very messed up images going through your head as you listen. Whether or not this is a good thing is open to question but it definitely makes the morning commute to work more interesting.

The guitars are swamped in distortion and as always the tracks are unpredictable. Fast-paced grinding death will suddenly switch to some doom ridden sludge, and the band have got that mixture down to a fine art. From the hardcore feel of opening track ‘Savagery’ to the near-six-minute ‘The Howling Dead’, which echoes much of their classic material, combining different tempos and vocal styles to devastating effect. The band has also added some more elaborate touches to this release; a few of the solos scattered throughout and a classy drum fill in ‘After The Cutting’ show a technical side of the band often hidden amongst the gore.

Once again, Autopsy have delivered an album of the very highest quality. To be so prolific and still present the very best that the scene has to offer proves their status as icons of extreme metal. No one does death metal quite like Autopsy. Their comeback may not have been as high profile as other recent reunions but the high standard of releases and prolific work rate over the five years since reforming is remarkable. Very few bands will do as well as they did first time round but to come back and do it all over again is unprecedented. Hopefully there is plenty more to be exhumed from this particular grave.

Autopsy – Official Facebook page