“The viscous, gelatinous, ravenous army that feast on the dead and the living…” – H.P Lovecraft
Autopsy are the masters of macabre. The death metal titans hardly need an introduction. Their story has been immortalized thanks to their string of untouchable albums released in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that can be summed up with three simple phrases: nasty vocals, sloppy riffs, cardboard box drums. They are a no-frills band that thrives on violence and grime. Revered in the underground, Autopsy has changed little since their reanimation in 2009, which has seen the band as equally active as in their heyday. According to co-band creator, drummer and vocalist, Chris Reifert, it’s par for the course and their own way of thanking “each and every one of the nut jobs (and I mean that in the best possible way) who support our filth and fury.”
BeatRoute was lucky enough to converse with the straight talking Reifert over email about the band’s next bloody slab of tunes, the excellent and stubbornly reactionary Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves. And damn, did he ever give us a lot to work with. The ellipses are all his, by the way, and answers are edited for length.
BeatRoute: Hello Chris! How are you doing and what are you doing today?
Chris Reifert: I do recognize you could have been watching reruns of Fantasy Island or something instead of wasting time asking me stuff…. and for that I hoist my coffee cup to you! …How? Just fine… What? Been on a serious Iron Maiden binge lately…. sometimes you need to be reminded about how fucking brilliant that band is and STILL going strong… good gawd!
BR: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves delivers classic Autopsy. You guys are hella consistent. Can you tell me about the writing and recording of the album?
CR: Things don’t get exciting until the writer of the particular song plays their creation for the rest of the lads, who in turn absorb then learn it… That’s where the fun begins, hearing it loud and ugly… Now, as for the where, it was at good ol’ Fantasy Studios over here in Berkeley… Our minds get blown each and every time we go there…. it’s such a magical place and no matter how weird we are; they always treat us like family.
BR: The production of earlier albums was much messier than it is now. As a death metal artist who’s listened to the genre for over two decades, and seen the progression of recording techniques, can you please juxtapose your thoughts on the matter?
CR: To get right to the core of this quandary, since day one we’ve always strived to make the best sounding albums we could possibly muster…. if you look at any album we’re ever done, we always thought it sounded great… It just so happens that what we think Autopsy should sound like doesn’t necessarily adhere to what other bands or people perceive as “good” sounding… We are truly a “warts and all” band.
BR: The album is, in my opinion, the best since Mental Funeral. How would you compare your newest albums to those you guys released early in your career? Do you think both fans and critics are playing a comparison game, and if so, does it even matter?
CR: Glad you dig it, that’s what really matters… We prefer to leave the comparisons to others… We just do the best job we can do at creating a sick little world to lose yourself in… That’s what albums are, after all… A gateway to leave behind all the shit that bothers you, brings you down or is just a general pain in the ass… That’s why I like ’em, anyways… If people you’ve never even met before choose to take that sonic journey with you, that’s a magical fucking thing, and I mean that with all sincerity… Cheers to all who have done so and will keep on doing so… Just let us do our thing and anyone who feels like dissecting, scrutinizing, or critiquing our noise is welcome to do so at will… We’d rather crack open some beers and let it fly.
Buy Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves from Peaceville Records on April 21.
By Sarah Kitteringham
Photo: Courtney McCutcheon