Though "Tourniquets, Hacksaw and Graves" has been out a few months, it still seems like only yesterday AUTOPSY's previous album "The Headless Ritual" hit the metal masses. It as if AUTOPSY has set out to hurriedly make up for the lost time of their fifteen year hiatus. Since 2010, this band has churned out three full-lengths and an EP, for crying out loud. Nonetheless, if "The Tomb Within" EP was a gory welcome back to the death metal fold for AUTOPSY and "The Headless Ritual" their second comeuppance, "Tourniquets, Hacksaw and Graves" is an official dig-in by the band. They're here to stay a while, let ear canals be served due warning. Let speed freaks also be warned; this album is often slower than nose drip.
As before, drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert, guitarists Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles and bassist Joe Trevisano tear their listeners new bungholes. It's just done more methodically this time. AUTOPSY will never be associated with the word "progressive,0, yet "Tourniquets, Hacksaw and Graves" still manages to impress with its slower experimental rakes and deliberate songwriting schemes.
"Savagery" at least rips away with zero remorse upon the thrashing chaos of rising and filing chord progressions, brain-torching guitar solos and hellish growls from Chris Reifert that are so crystal clear they sound like a direct reprimand. He then spits all over the mike on the intro to "King of Flesh Ripped", a nasty-but-superbly-written cut that proves minimalism can often be more powerful than bluntness. The first verse is nearly barren as AUTOPSY suspends their listeners with a barely-detected tempo, yet the song later destroys everything in sight the more it builds between moments of a beleaguering chum swish and sculpting speed modes.
The title track is both messy and massive, once more shifting tempos between crunching velocity and brackish slowness, but the instrumentation and songwriting is sharp, no matter how filthy it gets. Afterwards, AUTOPSY turns another surprise with their shifting methods on "The Howling Dead", beginning with a lengthy, brushy-sounding intro carrying demon woofing all over of it. Without notice, the song changes dimensions more than once, first with a harried doom plod, then a jive-filled death march and blues bash. With brief pauses to these transitions, "The Howling Dead" finally meanders into a different, more agonized doom section that slogs its way to the six-minute ending mark.
"After the Cutting" reasserts a blitz, but expect plenty of interruptions to the onslaught including rolls galore from Chris Reifert, then an abrupt signature change to mid-tempo as AUTOPSY increases the density before darting off once more. They make you wait for it on "Forever Hungry" and they continue their dickering along the way, but the brute force of the thrash portions and rambunctious solo section on this track will drive death metal pundits into rabid animals. "Teeth of the Shadow Horde" then rattles with a near-constant smacking tempo with only a couple of pauses, including the breath-catching outro.
"Deep Crimson Dreaming" might be the most adventurous track on the album, especially coming off the slippery entrails of the instrumental, "All Shall Bleed". "Deep Crimson Dreaming" trudges excruciatingly with numerous transitions to hang through and it ends with Chris Reifert's gross gurgling. "Parasitic Eye" afterwards does little to get out of the mire on the first minute, but hang tight, AUTOPSY soon picks it up and delves out clatter-filled rolls and gruesome thrash blasts. The slow-assed "Burial" has enough sickening yet way-cool chords to match Reifert's barfing. Once you make it through all of this dawdling muck, AUTOPSY cranks out the speed and a slings out a blood feast of distortion.
Not every fan of AUTOPSY is going to reward them with accolades for the changeups presented on "Tourniquets, Hacksaw and Graves". However, there's something to be said for challenging yourselves as a band, particularly one like AUTOPSY, obviously seeking justification for returning to the scene. "Tourniquets, Hacksaw and Graves" is an interesting slab that compromises not a lick of their heaviness, but it requires a bit of patience through its innumerable transitions and much slower pace.