Sunday Old School: Autopsy
Band Photo: Autopsy (?)
In the world of rock and metal music, it’s quite often we see a singer who simultaneously plays guitar, or sometimes bass, but it’s not often we clap eyes on a singing drummer. Phil Collins in Genesis is perhaps the most famous example and Black Sabbath's Bill Ward was able to multitask on the song, "It’s Alright," but collective hats must surely be taken off to anyone who can perform vocals and drums in a death metal band, but that’s just what Chris Reifert did when he formed Autopsy. Reifert formed the band in the summer of 1987 after leaving Death, for whom he performed drums on their classic album, "Scream Bloody Gore," along with guitarist Eric Cutler. The duo recorded their first demo that same year before recruiting a second guitarist, Danny Corrales, who almost immediately recorded a second demo with the band entitled, "Critical Madness."
The demos circulated around the metal scene and eventually reached the offices of Peaceville Records, who offered to sign the band. The group brought in Sadus member Steve DiGiorgio as a session musician and recorded their first full length album, "Severed Survival." The record was somewhat similar to "Scream Bloody Gore," but was nevertheless praised as one of the best death metal albums of its time, with many important bands in the genre such as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide citing the album as an influence.
A year later, the band showed off a change of pace, dropping the thrash leanings and showcasing a more doom metal vibe, becoming one of the first bands to blend doom with death metal. This direction was revealed on their 1991 EP, "Retribution for the Dead," and then in greater detail on their second full length album, "Mental Funeral," which was also released in 1991. This record was to be another inspiration for fledgling death metal groups, particularly ones in Sweden, who would go on to create the famous Swedish death metal sound. The success of these albums allowed the band to embark on a European tour, which was another rewarding experience. Almost immediately after returning home, the band recorded and released their third output of the year in the form of the EP, "Fiend for Blood."
Despite being renowned as pioneers of the death/doom sound, Autopsy’s next album was to mark another change in musical taste, as the band incorporated a grindcore approach for their third full length, "Acts of the Unspeakable," which featured former Suffocation bassist, Josh Barohn. The songs on the record were considerably shorter than those on, "Mental Funeral" and clocked in at just over thirty five minutes, despite featuring eighteen tracks. Touring for the album did not go as well as they had hoped, particularly in the United States, where things got so difficult that the group decided to disband after recording one more album.
That album came in 1995 under the title, "Shitfun." It was another change for the band, featuring a hardcore punk influenced take on their own brand of death/doom metal. The album was, as much as anything, a teaser for Corrales and Reifert’s new band, Abscess, which the two had formed as a side project in 1994. Abscess released their first album, "Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men" in 1996 and continued for a good while, during which time the band members constantly refused any speculation that Autopsy would reunite.
Their refusals luckily proved to be untrue when in 2008, Autopsy reconvened to record two bonus tracks for the re-release of their debut, "Severed Survival," before making an appearance at the Maryland Deathfest a year later. In 2010, Abscess announced that they had broken up and on the very same day, Autopsy revealed that they were reuniting on a permanent basis. A new EP, "The Tomb Within" surfaced later that year, as well as a live record named, "Dark Crusades," before "Macabre Eternal," Autopsy’s first full length record of new material in sixteen years, hit the shelves in 2011.
Since their return, Autopsy has certainly kept themselves busy, performing live when possible and releasing another new album, "The Headless Ritual" in 2013. It’s been less than a year since, "The Headless Ritual" was unleashed and already fans are preparing themselves for more, as the group will be releasing another slab of gore drenched death metal on April 29th, entitled, "Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves."
Autopsy - "Severed Survival"
Autopsy - "Destined to Fester"
Autopsy - "Fiend for Blood"
Autopsy - "Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium"
Autopsy - "My Corpse Shall Rise"
Autopsy - "Hand of Darkness"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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