>>Alien Autopsy are a new and rising locally-based death metal act who released their debut EP last month and recently played at the Bug Jar this past weekend. We caught up with the local five-piece to discuss their origin, their future, and the challenges and emotions of recording their first EP.
Death metal can sometimes be ugly—both in a good and bad way. However, acts like Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold and even Opeth have progressed and pushed the genre into more ambitious territories, keeping the genre interesting. And you can even say the same thing about Alien Autopsy, a young and rising local versatile metal five-piece who also have the ability to find new extremes within metal. Last month, they released their stellar debut EP and just this past weekend, blew the roof off of the Bug Jar. Easily, they’re one of the most exciting new bands playing music right now in their scene.
Clearly influenced by classic metal acts like Skeletonwitch and Death, Alien Autopsy is led and charged by their roaring lead vocalist Avery Moore, who is backed by the infinite arsenal of fast-paced riffs of Derek Block and Eric Pinales, alongside the galloping and churning rhythm section of bassist Matt Huguley and drummer Nick Winger. The band started at the House of Guitars, where most of the band currently works: including Block, Pinales and Huguley. Block had the idea of starting a metal band for a long time and soon Pinales and Huguley tagged along. Huguley soon enlisted Winger,
whom he knew from college and eventually, they found their frontman after selling him a guitar.
Prior to forming Alien Autopsy, most of its members, besides Moore, were already in bands. Huguley played guitar in a bluesey-garage cover band, Winger was in a pop punk band, Block was in an emo shoegaze group and Pinales is still active in the rock group the Results. However, they all wanted to do something within the genre of metal, but with a no-holds-barred mentality, which you can certainly hear on the recent EP. From the raging and ominous “The Abduction” to the more raw and traditional heavy metal styling on the closing track “Epitaph Vitae,” the songs here are brutally tight and wide-ranging. Pinales echoes this and along with his bandmates, wanted to incorporate elements of various metal styles that interested the group into the release.
“One thing we took into consideration when recording the EP is that we can do anything we want, especially it being our first release,” Pinales said.
“We don’t have to define ourselves by anything right now.”
They recorded the EP at Pinales’ home studio and finished some vocal tracking at the HOG. The recording process might’ve been thrilling for the new metal act, but it came with some challenges. They started recording in late spring of last year, but had to stop halfway due to the departure of their first drummer. To keep things consistent within the band, they had to start the process over. When looking for a drummer, Huguley, who was already good friends with Winger, jammed together just days before their old drummer quit. Huguley liked the chemistry and soon Winger was completely on board. When Winger came in, he was sort of thrown into the mix of everything. They had all the songs fleshed out, but gave Winger complete freedom to do whatever he wanted on drums.
“It was interesting having to restart the entire recording process because when I came in, they already had the tracks recorded,” Winger said. “There are very specific moments where I kept exactly what the old drummer did, but basically I built off of what they did and threw my own style into it.”
The standout “Epitaph Vitae” is one of the more personal tracks on the album. According to Moore, it was difficult to write as it’s about how he felt when moving from California to the Flower City.
“At first I didn’t know what to write for that song, but vocally, I just went for it. I do a lot on this track from talking to whispering to voice distortion to low and high screams. But the lyrical content for me is very personal,” Moore said. “It’s about me moving here from California and going through a depression and feeling isolated. It’s more like a snapshot of my past. It’s really emotional for me performing it because you know the more you put into a song the more you get out of it by releasing those energies you placed into it.
They rehearse in Huguley’s basement, which is also where they host some house shows when they’re up for it. They’ve played four shows total, two of them being house shows. Huguley describes how different the atmosphere and energy is playing at public shows compared to their shows in the basement.
“At the house shows, I didn’t look at the audience at all. I would always keep my eyes to the ground, which is weird because I’m in my own element there,” Huguley said. “But at the EP release show, I felt very connected to the crowd and made quite a lot of eye contact with the crowd and was able to be more authentic.”
Winger compliments that and says the EP release show last month at Photo City Improv brought entirely new and must-needed energy to their performing, which was lacking from the house shows.
“Whenever we’ve done a basement show, it’s been in the same environment we’re used to practicing in, so we might get a little more relaxed and comfortable in that environment,” Winger said. But now playing at actual venues, it was just great and gave us a whole new energy for our performances.”
As of now, they’ve only played a few shows, but have a confirmed date at the Bug Jar on March 14, along with Undeath, Fatal Curse and other heavy local acts. With only one EP under their belt , Block is hoping to soon record a split vinyl release with another local heavy group.
Alien Autopsy are one of the finest metal acts in Rochester. There is not a single wasted or stale moment from both their EP and live shows. So sit back, strap in and get abducted by the frantic and brutal metal phenomenon that is Alien Autopsy.