When Death Metal legends Autopsy decided to call it a day back in 1995, very few could have foreseen the Californian act resurrecting themselves over fifteen years later in such impressive fashion. Unable to reach the heights of their classic début, Severed Survival, or it’s follow-up, Mental Funeral, the band split shortly before the release of 1995’s Shitfun, before transforming into Abscess, the side project of vocalist/drummer Chris Reifert and guitarist Danny Coralles. Eventually choosing to leave Abscess behind, Reifert and Coralles reformed Autopsy, and after recording the five-track EP, The Tomb Within, released highly acclaimed comeback album Macabre Eternal in 2011, following it up with the equally impressive The Headless Ritual in 2013, and Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves in 2014.
Now, thirty years after their inception, Autopsy are marking the anniversary by releasing Puncturing the Grotesque (all Peaceville), a seven-track Mini-Album featuring their first new material since the Skull Grinder in 2015. After the atonal noise, feedback, and slurpy vocals of intro ‘Depths Of Dehumanization’, things kick off properly with the Thrash Metal battery of the title track. ‘The Sick Get Sicker’ is all sludgy, doomy riffs, and mucus-filled vocals that sound like some kind of black and oozing creature, crawling its way out of a swamp filled with human excrement and decomposing body parts.
‘Gas Mask Lust’ is Black Sabbath riffs drenched in vomit, drool and bile, ‘Corpses At War’ sounds exactly like you’d expect an army of zombies shambling slowly into battle would sound, and the brilliantly titled ‘Gorecrow’ features another doomy Sabbath riff which explodes into classic Autopsy Death Metal. The EP is rounded off with a cover of ‘Fuck you!!!’, an alternative version of the track already recorded by the band for a split 7” with its original writers, Oakland act, Bloodbath, and dedicated to their singer Dane Petersen who died in 2015.
Doing exactly what you would expect of an interim release, Puncturing the Grotesque is enjoyably unpleasant fun, and while it may not be their finest work, it does succeed in whetting the appetite nicely for their next full-length slab of unwholesome grue.