Review: This summary of two demo recordings covers Autopsy from inception as a heavy/speed metal extreme band to evolution as the grinding, doomy, sickly disharmonious gore metal of their classic work. While the first track shows an epic heavy metal influence in riffing and vocals, this compilation quickly diverges into the more extreme with characteristic guttural ranting and surging, tugging, amputative death metal phrasing. Formative versions of many of the constructions and ideas found on later albums here come forth in unselfconscious form, often to greater momentum.
1. Human Genocide
4. Mauled to Death
"Critical Madness" 1988
5. Charred Remains
6. Ridden With Disease
7. Critical Madness
Live in Bamburg, Germany March 16, 1990
8. Severed Survival
9. Service for a Vacant Coffin
Early works reveal a Slayer and Repulsion influence that is unsurprising and make the journey astounding to the fully independent metal to emerge over time. Crepitant guitars emphasize extended melodic patterns over churning slowness or vastly raging onslaught. Emetic vocals chant and chortle a vomitous snort of words mangled into repugnant enunciation. Like John Bonham in a concentration camp in hell drums are present but never inconsiderate and strengthen music by becoming an integral part from the inside. Bassy and gaseous, it leeks pus and reeks of death.
Themes unfold from within their basic rhythm motions, encoded directly in order of presentation as an observer might have, moving the audience through moods of slowness, quickness, fear, anticipation and deliverance. Lead guitars follow the pattern of fast wiggling arpeggios that distinguished Swedish death metal of roughly the same time and emphasize space and tonal mood more than decorate. Gut-wrenching and nihilistic in preconceptions of tone and harmony, epic riff-writing elaborates pattern reconstruction in motif development on occasions of lucidity and transcendence of form.
Graced with a cover from banned artist Mike Diana, this compilation addresses the loyalist fanbase of this groundbreaking band with a gratifying spate of original material, and still many lust for more. Before gore metal became a playground for the mentally impaired and self-pitying, this gleeful exploration of carnage and mortality defined an essential pillar of death metal.
Review: Autopsy baffle their audience with an aesthetic that is a small part conventional death metal and mostly technique for maintaining an atmosphere of gore obsession - sloppy, grotesque chords, passages of infinitessimal weight, odd almost-melodic bits, with lead guitar that comments internally enough to avoid being a fretrun of scale patterns. The rhythms are stages of decay, collapsing on themselves, and chording where not dissonant is omnipresent power chords staggering into one another in battlefield exhaustion.
Chris Reifert, of Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" fame, plays drums with instrumental prowess and creativity, keeping pace like a lurking gangster before popping out with a few choice shots and retiring in the complexity of fill. Percussion is understated but emphatic and gives rise through technique to a gesture of simplicity on the edge of complexity through boundary constraints. Vocals batter against drums and guitar to articulate a slim channel of pace of sound arrival.
1. Fiend For Blood (0:28)
2. Keeper Of Decay (2:26)
3. Squeal Like A Pig (3:43)
4. Ravenous Freaks (2:25)
5. A Different Kind Of Mindfuck (0:48)
6. Dead Hole (2:30)
Grotesque in its beauties and profound in its inevitable continuity, this release blended doom metal and conceptual elements into gore-bound Tampa metal to make a new style. Fast tempo breaks, odd shifting rhythms, and thoroughly crepitative guitar sound make Autopsy the founder and principle practicioner of gore metal, as their work is most commonly called. While its origins and appearance are deliberately repugnant, the music within remains potent, thoughtful symbolism of a dying empire.
Review: Musically and artistically this is the peak for Autopsy, who here evolve their gore metal style into a grindcore-influenced experiment that builds songs like bizarre variants on old metal tunes, normal music sent through the tonal grinder and made into churning plunging trudging stuff that speaks its piece through composite riffs and intense patterning in these slow songs of degradation and breakdown.
The entropic crusade presented here is to provide the shock of life and the fear of death and to present as artistic experience the obsession with the morbid in a simply prurient but scientific way. The gut vomited gutteral trolling echo of the vocal track only reinforces the sagging antiprogress of the rhythms, and the droning of the guitar shifts the song toward hopelessness at every juncture of mood.
1. Twisted mess of burnt decay (2:15)
2. In the grip of winter (4:08)
3. Fleshcrawl (0:36)
4. Torn from the womb (3:19)
5. Slaughterday (4:04)
6. Dead (3:18)
7. Robbing the grave (4:20)
8. Hole in the head (6:03)
9. Destined to fester (4:34)
10. Bonesaw (0:45)
11. Dark crusade (3:55)
12. Mental funeral (0:37)
The style here is as evolved as the tugging and surgically messy riffs of the New York school of death metal, but features a heavy metal tonal tendency and guttural, doomish thunder of cavernous resounding recursive structure. Where lead guitar is used it is as showy as the metal gods of the late 1970s, but as the Misfits perverted the crooners of the generation before, Autopsy sickeningly invert heavy metal and turn it into the degraded but aware and nihilistic feral genre of death metal.
Sludge thrown back into a primitive era, Autopsy defined many of the characteristics of modern death metal and contributed extensively to its lexicon of riff patterns. Simultaneously they have left an image of their style as a definition, a taxon, for what they defined in their rampage for musical expression of savage, nihilistic truth of life.