Heretic Pride




the Mountain Goats



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Autoclave is the fourth song on the album Heretic Pride.

Press Kit notesEdit


I was in Alaska when I read about the discovery of a life-form that can not only survive an autoclave (The instrument used for sterilizing surgical instruments; It's supposed to kill any and all bacteria on the tools), but which seems to really enjoy the whole autoclave scene: at temperatures fatal to all other life forms, this bacteria would begin to breed.

Naturally this got me to thinking about people whose hearts involuntarily pulverize any good feelings that come within a city block of them.


Hand me your hand, let me look in your eyes
As my last chance to feel human begins to vaporize
Maybe it’s the heat in here, maybe it’s the pressure
You ought to head for the exits, the sooner the better

I am this great, unstable mass of blood and foam
And no one in her right mind would make my home her home 
My heart’s an autoclave
My heart’s an autoclave

When I try to open up to you I get completely lost
Houses swallowed by the earth, windows thick with frost
And I reach deep down within, but the pathways twist and turn
And there’s no light anywhere, and nothing left to burn

And I am this great, unstable mass of blood and foam
And no emotion that’s worth having could call my heart its home
My heart’s an autoclave
My heart’s an autoclave

I dreamt that I was perched atop a throne of human skulls
On a cliff above the ocean, howling wind and shrieking seagulls
And the dream went on forever, one single static frame
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

And I am this great, unstable mass of blood and foam
And no one in her right mind would make her home my home
My heart’s an autoclave
My heart’s an autoclave

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "[You may] Look out on your friends, who are your friends, and you may say about them to yourself, whether or not (...) listening; 'I'd kill them as soon as look at them again. I can't live another winter with you people. But I can't tell you that, because you might have money, or drugs, or something else I could use, so. But I wish you all could understand that that is the compact between us, that you are here for me as long as I need you, at which point I hope you will incinerate yourselves, as that would just be good manners.' " -- 2008-02-25 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
  • "I hesitate to use the term that I traditionally use to describe this song in this town. This is kind of an emo song. But emo has gotten a bad name in the 21st century, it didn't used to be, it didn't used to mean that you were sad that you spent all your money on hair care products and consequently could not afford to take your date to Quiznos that night. No. Emo used to really be about suffering. Not the suffering of the privileged, I mean, not the suffering of the terribly impoverished either if we're honest with ourselves. I mean, it was kind of an [inaudible] suffering but still, it was better than the suffering of the guy who can only afford 2 of the 3 Misfits shirts at Hot Topic. I like to think that if I could take a time machine, the Rites of Spring would give me their approval with this little emo song." -- 2008-03-22 - The Black Cat - Washington, D.C.

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit

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