Review: Autopsy – Puncturing the Grotesque

The festive season is coming to a close and the January sales have begun. Get some extra cash for Christmas? Presents this year lacking in death metal? Autopsy has the answer with their latest slab of sonic perversion – Puncturing the Grotesque.

Puncturing the Grotesque starts straight off with Autopsy’s signature eerie soundscapes with “Depths of Dehumanization”. The unsettling tone for the record is set with the creepy delay-drenched guitar and bass noises and growling from vocalist Chris Reifert. Launching directly into the title track, the band gives punky NWOBHM riffs reminiscent of Venom. The more classic metal sound is refreshing to hear in comparison to Autopsy’s usually doom-laden racket, and it complements the band’s style well. Reifert proves he is on top form too with his gruff growling and intense screaming, particularly with the song’s closing shriek.

The rest of Puncturing the Grotesque is familiar Autopsy territory chock full of sickening thrashing punk, dread-filled doom and undead growls. The duo of “The Sick Get Sicker” and “Gas Mask Lust” are particularly horrifying with both exhibiting some of Autopsy’s most sonically-depraved riffs to date. The former’s rumbling punk contrasted with tortuously slow B-movie horror discordant guitar counterpoint riffs create a hellish soundtrack to slowly sliding down the path to psychotic insanity. The latter sounds like a continuation from its predecessor with the tempo reducing further as the twisted guitar harmonies and dissonances slowly send you to the depths of insanity then to your ultimate demise. The song then transitions to a more upbeat death ‘n’ roll style that although contrasts the previous few minute’s dirge, the transition is seamless and complements the song well before a last minute return to the horrific harmonies. Over all of that are some equally insane vocals with intense screaming and zombified snarls that greet you as you fall down to Hell listening to the quaking riffs.

Puncturing the Grotesque’s second half continues the trend of classic Autopsy. Both “Corpses At War” and “Gorecrow” exhibit almost all aspects of the band’s signature sound – dissonance, varying rhythms, crushing doom, sick vocals and overall insanely catchy riffs. Closing the EP is another slice of something different with “Fuck You!!!” (a cover of a song from guitarist Danny Coralles’ first band Bloodbath). The riffs are classic straight-up thrashers with flashes of NWOBHM and blasts of raging punk. It’s a fast, fun thrill ride and like with the title track, it’s awesome to hear Autopsy play with different sounds. It never sounds unnatural for the band and the combination of their sound with the different styles works gruesomely well together.

Overall, Puncturing the Grotesque is one of Autopsy’s best records to date. It exhibits everything awesome about the band. They remain true to their core sound, continue to expand that sound and explore new ideas, and ultimately come across like they had a riotous time spewing out a horrible racket for our masochistic listening pleasure. Because of this, Autopsy remain original and never get old. The riffs are immensely catchy and memorable, and drag you back to the speakers for repeated listens.

In today’s world bursting at the seams with identikit death metal bands, Autopsy continue to school the genre in how it’s done. Puncturing the Grotesque is the sound of a band who won’t slow down and love what they do, and that’s always a twisted pleasure to eviscerate your eardrums to.

Puncturing the Grotesque is available now on CD and vinyl via the Peaceville online store. The EP will be available via retail outlets on January 26th.

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