Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Viking's Choice: Back From The Grave, Autopsy Awakens An 'Arch Cadaver'

Courtesy of the artist

Autopsy just wants to make nasty death metal, okay? No technical this, no frip-frappity-do that, and by the re-animated corpses of hellbound souls, ain't nothing going to change about it. From the late '80s to the mid-'90s, the Bay Area band was an anomaly among speed demons: a chaotic horde given to lurching rhythms, maniacal guitar solos and drummer Chris Reifert's escaped-mental-patient howls.

When Autopsy returned to the living with the excellent Macabre Eternal in 2011, it was clear that nothing had changed, yet its swaggering bravado was even more pronounced. Enter The Headless Ritual, Autopsy's sixth album, with a bigger sound and the first body to hit the floor: "Arch Cadaver."

"Arch Cadaver" is classic Autopsy, but it's also a bit of a rock 'n' roll party. Sandwiched between a minute of deranged doom and a left-right-channel guitar-solo face-off, there's a whiskey-swigging, Motorhead-pounding rhythm that boogies at an insane pace. These are the kinds of curveballs that keep fans guessing — see: the acoustic guitars in "Bridge of Bones" — but, still, to quote Reifert in a recent and very to-the-point interview, "It sounds like Autopsy. There's fast stuff, slow stuff and all the weird stuff in between."

The Headless Ritual comes out June 24 in Europe and July 2 in the U.S. on Peaceville Records.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Listen to the Viking's Choice playlist, subscribe to the newsletter.