AMG Goes Ranking – Autopsy

The life of the unpaid, overworked metal reviewer is not an easy one. The reviewing collective at AMG lurches from one new release to the next, errors and nOObs strewn in our wake. But what if, once in a while, the collective paused to take stock and consider the discography of those bands that shaped many a taste? What if two three aspects of the AMG collective personality shared with the slavering masses their personal rankings of that discography and what if the rest of the personality used a Google sheet some kind of dark magic to produce an official guide to, and all-around definitive aggregated ranking of, that band’s entire discography? Well, if that happened, we imagine it would look something like this…

During Week One of Project Rank Autopsy, the Rankers exposed themselves to higher-than-safe levels of scabby gore-themed death metal. The three subjects (S.D.D.A.N.G., and F..) volunteered for testing out of love for this California-based extreme metal institution. Certain test subjects discovered the band during its initial, massively influential run, while others came back into the metal fold just as the outfit was launching a 2011 comeback that is now longer and more productive than Autopsy’s original incarnation. All three subjects reported changes in mood during the first week of exposure. Subject D.A.N.G. describes yelling at his furniture; Subject S.D. self-diagnosed an increase in his already considerable levels of irritability. For F., the world began slowly to arrange itself into potential Autopsy song titles: “The Self-Scalping Protocol,” “Just the Tip (of the Stiletto),” etc.

The experiment began to break down in Week Two. Subject D.A.N.G. reports lost chunks of time and waking up outside the cadaver room of our medical school with a duffel bag full of “something frozen.” Subject F. flung his own head at the concrete floor of his office, while the graduate students tasked with monitoring S.D. abruptly quit after he whispered the names of their children to them. The test subjects were offered the chance to leave the experiment, but all stayed on out of respect for Autopsy’s body of work. The band is set to release ninth full-length Ashes, Organs, Blood and Crypts on October 27, and, in separate interviews, the subjects used identical wording to proclaim the importance of continuing the experiment “so the world is spread open for what’s coming.”

It is now Week Three. The remaining graduate students died during an arcane rite turned orgy-gone-wrong. The subjects escaped in the ensuing chaos and are now at large. They left behind the below manifesto, which we are reprinting in the hope it will slake their growing bloodthirst. May God save us all from what Autopsy hath wrought..


Steel Druhm

Autopsy may not have been the first to drop a death metal album on the masses, but founding madman Chris Reifert played drums on what’s widely regarded as the genre’s birthing—Death’s Scream Bloody Gore. Soon after that he separated to launch his own abomination on the world and it’s his early work with Autopsy that helped define the sound for both death metal and death-doom. With partners in crime guitarists Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler in tow, Autopsy carved a bloody hole in heavy metal history and filled it with the most repellant, disgusting of sounds. Pioneers and innovators who rarely get the credit they deserve, their lo-fi, scum-chum sound launched hordes of imitators. Submerging oneself in their entire sleaze-enrobed catalog for extended listening sessions is akin to falling into an overflowing cesspool, and every bit as unhealthy. I did all this for YOU! Are you not entertained?? I’ll see you on the other side after I’m steam-cleaned and re-fluffed properly. *gagging noises*

The Ranking:

#8. Shitfun (1995). Yep, this one is tough to swallow. By the time this odious piece of excretion was expelled, Chris Reifert and Danny Coralles were way more focused on their Abscess project and in the process of consigning Autopsy to the dustbin of history. I didn’t bother hearing this when it dropped, warned off by the negative reaction the album received in the press and from friends. I didn’t get around to listening until many years later and it was just as awful as advertised. At times you can hear the classic Autopsy sound, but the bulk of the material is a significant departure, taking their punky death style way further into something like proto-grind horror-punk. This approach teamed with a concerted effort to be as shocking and gross as possible was far too immature and dumb for me, like it was written by a bunch of edgy teens trying to offend their parents. Songs like “I Sodomize Your Corpse” and “Shit Eater” go for juvenile shock value at the expense of good songwriting. The album is also WAY overlong at 55 minutes, stuffed full of mindless, repetitive junk punk that doesn’t stick. I really tried to approach this with an open mind after not hearing it for a very long time, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Shitfun is essentially the aural equivalent of a snuff film with shit porn interludes. Best avoided by almost everyone.1

#7. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014). If this one were part of any other band’s discography it would likely land a lot higher in a worst-to-best ranking. Here it falls to the unenviable penultimate position. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is not a bad release and it has plenty of merit in its own right. It’s just eclipsed by a few genre-defining legendary platters and some second-career-stage stunners. There’s an entirely enjoyable collection of classic Autopsy gore-slopped trash here and one could find spots for gems like “Savagery” and “King of Ripped Flesh” on the most discerning of death playlists, and “Parasitic Eye” is a must-have on any Autopsy best-of list. The guitar work throughout by Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler is sharp and slicing and the sound is surprisingly good too. Sadly, there is some fat and a few lesser cuts that feel generic. Overall, a fun splatter platter with a few inspired moments of gruesome lunacy.

#6. Acts of the Unspeakable (1992). This is the Autopsy album people seem to either forget about, write off, or underrate. This is puzzling to me since there are a lot of ghoulish goodies here waiting to be disinterred. Perhaps it’s because the band was starting the drift toward a more punky style with way shorter songs, some only 20 or 30 seconds in length. They clearly embraced the Thomas Hobbes mantra of nasty brutish and short, with grindcore-esque speed taking up the bulk of the album’s short runtime. It’s actually the slower cuts that are the most intriguing, however, especially because they presage the coming of a beloved death metal institution. Take opener “Meat” for example. It has its blasty bits, but it expands outward into murky doomscapes, creating an oppressively ominous vibe that would come to be the trademark of Incantation when they hit the scene a year after this dropped. These pre-cantation sounds also appear on “Your Rotting Face” and “Funereality” adds a strong Sabbath influence and brief James Murphy-esque touches to the guitars. Acts of the Unspeakable is an awkward transition toward a direction that would ultimately tank the band, but the core of the Autopsy sound is still intact enough to make it worth your attention.

#5. The Headless Ritual (2013). Following close on the bloody heels of their monster comeback opus, Macabre Eternal, The Headless Ritual found Autopsy still riding the wave of a creative rejuvenation. The savagery and brutality are at peak levels and their winning blend of doom and brain-scalding death could still make a jaded metaller sit up straight. Opener “Slaughter at Beast House” may be one of their best moments, recycling the roots of Black Sabbath’s legendary namesake song and turning it into something way more threatening than “Satan’s coming ’round the bend.” Chris Reifert’s vocals here are fucking coconuts and a death metal fan could scarcely ask for more. The 7-plus minutes of “She is a Funeral” are a toxic waste dumping ground that the government should be very concerned about, featuring some of Reifert’s most atrociously nasty vocals ever. Yes, he often sounds like Animal from The Muppet Show, but that’s all part of the grisly fun, right? “When Hammer Meets Bone” is one of my favorite Autopsy tracks, and were I ever to go on a killing spree at AMG HQ, this one would be the soundtrack to the ensuing bloodbathory. The “wounded duck” guitar effects here alone are worth the album price.

#4. Morbidity Triumphant (2022). An elder death act proves they still have the strength and will to slaughter a new generation of curious listeners who took a wrong turn someplace. I was not expecting an album this brutal and this good from these olde curmudgeons and it all hit me like a 10-ten truck. It opens with the quintessential Autopsy cut “Stab the Brain” and it does in fact stab you in the thought maker. “Final Frost” is like a trip back to the early 80s to hear an embryonic Hellhammer, and the stoner swagger from the Mental Funeral days reappears on the rollicking rip-shitting of “The Voracious One.” Lest we are thinking these olde dawgs can’t smash us into paste with speed, you get high-velocity rampagers like “Knife Slice Axe Chop” and “Slaughterer of Souls.” There’s nothing here but top-notch Autopsy and the band sound full of piss, bile, and military-grade vinegar. This one is a lead-piped sucker shot to the medulla oblongata.

#3.  Mental Funeral (1991). The high-quality follow-up to Severed Survival saw Autopsy diving deeper into the death-doom cesspool with fascinating results. “In the Grip of Winter” is like stoner rock before it turns into brain-melting glacial death doom and it should be played on repeat for hours in every tattoo shop in America (mine already does this). It’s so wonderfully sloppy and massive you can’t help but love it. “Torn from the Womb” lurches between doomy plods and blasting intensity with the most Neanderthal of mannerisms sustained throughout. The thrashy parts feel charmingly ramshackle and unstable, which only adds to the overall appeal. The doom elements creep into almost every track and rather than drag things down, they provide a powerful accent to the beef-brained deathery. Tracks like “Robbing the Grave” even foretell of later acts like Hooded Menace and Acid Witch. Definitely a slower, more ball-crushing version of Autopsy than heard prior, but the shambling death-doom creak and rattle really worked for them. An enduring genre classic.

#2. Macabre Eternal (2011).  After profoundly shitting the bed with 1995s Shitfun outing, Chris and Co. went off to do awful things with Abscess, and Autopsy was prematurely laid to rest.  I moved on and submerged myself deeper into the fetid oceans of death they helped inspire and I considered Autopsy a dead stick. Then 2011 rolled around and they dropped what may be the greatest comeback ever by a metal band. Macabre Eternal is at once classic Autopsy but them on bathtub steroids and homemade pruno. It’s feral, savage, and completely deranged. It’s also a surprisingly diverse album, with the band dabbling in a wide range of tempos and moods, all horrific, of course. The sheer intensity and violence with which the material hits you is a rude awakening. Cuts like “Dirty Gore Whore” and “Sadistic Gratification” make you feel like an uncomfortable voyeur peering into the brain of an absolute maniac and the happy marriage of thrashy death and ponderous doom is once again attained on “Seeds of Doom,” which sounds like early Trouble until Reifert starts vomiting over everything. This is just an absolutely insane album with some of the band’s best writing and most over-the-top antics.

#1. Severed Survival  (1989).  The late-arriving true prototype death metal album and a major genre building block that’s still referenced to this day. Though its core sound is much like Death’s 1987 debut (which isn’t surprising considering Reifert’s involvement on the album), this one is way more unhinged and nastier, the blueprint for onga-bonga death metal. So loathsome is its foul, scuzz-bucket atmosphere that it can still stand proudly against even the most repellant of the new generation of death spew. Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler use this album to pour the foundations for the entire genre with their slippery, slimy riffs. Songs like “Charred Remains” and “Service for a Vacant Coffin” are genre touchstones that spawned an ever-flowing stream of noxious abominations and the hits keep on coming. “Gasping for Air” features the most caveman-like vocals ever put to tape paired with an infectious chug that’s as righteous as it is comical. “Ridden With Disease” is an absolute gut-busting triumph that looms large in the Grand Pantheon of Death. Meanwhile, tracks like “Impending Death” set the stage for the death-doom genre. Every track here is a vicious stab in the sense and sensibilities, dragging you deeper and deeper into the depraved world of serial killers and black market organ traffickers. You will enjoy your stay until you end up fucking dead. Die.

Dr. A.N. Grier

I’ve explored almost every facet of death metal for the last twenty-something years. So much so that many of the new bands, with their unique takes on the style, bore the living fuck out of me. Like many of the old fucks on staff, I’ve found myself also being old-as-fuck, returning to and ever-appreciating what came before. Back to the days when everything was fresh, chaotic, and spontaneous. I’m not saying that doesn’t exist, but many death metal records that everyone masturbates to today feel formulaic and leave me hollow. Another reason for this feeling is that I’m not a huge death metal fan. There, I said it. It’s not a secret. Look at the number of death metal records I’ve reviewed in the last nine years. Like I told my ex-wife before she left me, I’m not stubborn, I’m picky. While I enjoy many death metal acts, Autopsy is one of my favorites. It’s pure filth and will always be, no matter how long they continue to write music. Autopsy is easily one of the most disgusting outfits, from the lyrics to the vocals to the always-significant bass work. And if they ever lose that, I’ll burn this fucking planet to the ground.

The Ranking:

#8. Shitfun (1995). In 1995, Shitfun was considered the band’s swansong. Never again would we hear another Autopsy album, as the band members went their separate ways and continued making music in their separate projects. This was a horrible time in the world of filthy murder metal. Not only because the band called it quits but also because Shitfun is one of, if not the worst, of their albums. Hopping on the Acts of the Unspeakable bandwagon, Shitfun is a collection of twenty songs. The biggest difference, though, is Acts of the Unspeakable was thirty-five minutes. Shitfun is a towering fifty-five minutes. While this is nothing new for modern-era Autopsy, this was shocking at the time. And, at least for me, it was far too much Autopsy in one disc. But it’s not the length that the album truly suffers from. It’s the lack of memorable material. The only song I enjoy on this abomination is “An End to the Misery.”

#7. The Headless Ritual (2013). From the moment “Slaughter at Beast House” hits your earholes, The Headless Ritual has you by the brain stem. Right away, it’s obvious this album is gonna be big. It’s also a cleaner-sounding record compared even to Macabre Eternal. There’s less gunk slathered across it, allowing for a heavier and smoother product. Some would argue that the production takes the punch out of dishes Autopsy is known to deliver. That is true in some respects, but it’s still one hell of an album. After sharing vocal duties with Cutler on Macabre Eternal, Reifert performs most of the tracks, simultaneously laying out his mighty drum work. The Headless Ritual is a tight little album compared to its two predecessors, making repeated listens easy. Unlike Macabre Eternal, this record doesn’t do anything out of the norm or send you reeling from the overly sickening displays of grotesqueness. Instead, it’s a straightforward record, with the back-to-back “She Is a Funeral” and “Coffin Crawlers” being some of the more interesting tracks. It was perhaps their smoothest and most concise record at the time. And every time I listen to it, I’m surprised when it ends.

#6. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014). Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves continues where The Headless Ritual left off—clean production, in-your-face attitude, and heavy as fuck. But, unlike its predecessor, Autopsy showed up with some interesting new material. Though it never stood a chance of topping the wild diversity of Macabre Eternal, it does a fine job. But it’s not apparent immediately, as it takes a while for the album to get going. After “Savagery,” the band settles into their classic, doomy, droney songwriting structure for most of the album’s front half. It isn’t until “After the Cutting” that I begin feeling its urgency. After the short funeral march that is “All Shall Bleed,” Autopsy shocks the masses with acoustic guitars that somehow add an unsettling quality to the already unsettling “Deep Crimson Dreaming.” For the remainder of the album, I’m glued to the snarling vocals, crushing riffs, disgusting attitude, and the flailing drum work. Not to mention, we finally got an “Autopsy” song to conclude the album. While it’s not the greatest song they’ve ever penned, it has an old-school character that represents the band’s legacy well.

#5. Acts of the Unspeakable (1992). During the band’s early years, Autopsy was coming into its own—tinkering a lot with song and album structures. Acts of the Unspeakable is no different. Following the easy-flowing Mental Funeral, the approach here is moar is moar. Though Acts of the Unspeakable is a tight thirty-five minutes, eighteen throat-slitting tracks were new for Autopsy fans. With “Pus / Rot” being the longest song (clocking in at four minutes), Reifert and co. focused on short, slimy morsels forced down your throat in the time it takes to do your shopping. While Mental Funeral was about flow, Acts of the Unspeakable is about jarring transitions and unrelenting pain. “Meat” and “Orgy In Excrements” are pounding, slithering, and sinister classics. “Death Twitch” feels like you’re tied to a table and smashed to oblivion by Reifert’s giant wooden hammer. And the lyrics of “Skullptures” are a textbook on what not to do on your first date. While not as strong as the band’s previous albums, the attitude is unmistakably there, and the sheer amount of material in such a short amount of time is astonishing. Though, sometimes, it hurts the album because a song rarely settles in and evolves.

#4. Morbidity Triumphant (2022). After two solid releases and one fantastic one, Autopsy drops Morbidity Triumphant and surprises the shit out of me. What made Macabre Eternal so cool has also, to a smaller degree, made its way into Morbidity Triumphant. “The Voracious One” has a nifty groove that lets the bass lead as the guitars and drums swirl around it in controlled chaos. The follow-up track, “Born in Blood,” is a rocking piece whose rhythm is fortified by clever drum work and a pulsing energy. But the odd, gross numbers, like “Flesh Strewn Temple” and the bass-driven “Knife Slice, Axe Chop,” solidify Morbidity Triumphant as one of Autopsy’s best albums. Both songs are chock full of slimy riffs that alternate between aggressiveness and groveling interludes. The overall character of the record is addictive as fook, which is made even stronger by the neat forty-minute runtime. Since releasing Severed Survival and Mental Funeral, never has the band felt like their old selves. Combining diversity and a gnarly production with neatly packaged songs makes for an exciting album that’s enjoyable and easy to listen to. Morbidity Triumphant is a surprisingly excellent album so late in one’s career.

#3. Macabre Eternal (2011). After sixteen years of no Autopsy, the boys came back to town to surprise the living shit out of me. The energy the band once held came back in full force with Macabre Eternal. Heavier, faster, and nastier than ever, this record was easily my AotY in 2011. And boy, it felt like nearly two decades of material stored up for the masses. At an hour in length, it fires on all cylinders, bringing the old attitude and fusing it with new directions. For example, Reifert and Cutler share vocal duties throughout, providing a fresh take on the Autopsy songwriting process. But it’s not only the vocals that instill new character in the album. For example, the doomy, trad approach to “Seeds of the Doomed” makes it more fun than it has a right to be. While the back-to-back “Macabre Eternal” and “Deliver Me from Sanity” bring back memories of the good ole days—gnarly vocals, razor-sharp guitars, thumping bass, and Reifert’s unique drum fills. But we can’t forget about the freak of the album: “Sadistic Gratification.” This eleven-minute nightmare is like nothing the band has ever created. It’s an Autopsy torture room that never gets old, no matter how long it is. In my eyes, Macabre Eternal still stands as one of the greatest comeback albums in metal history.

#2. Mental Funeral (1991). To these ears, Mental Funeral was a stark contrast to Severed Survival. While all the elements that makeup Autopsy exist, I was wildly surprised by the outcome. Instead of a collection of songs that stood alone, Autopsy leads us through a horrifying journey of mental fuckery. Most notable are the skull-pounding moments as you descend through “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay,” “In the Grip of Winter,” “Fleshcrawl,” and “Torn from the Womb.” While I miss the unhinged approach to Severed Survival and DiGiorgio’s bass contribution, Mental Funeral is an obvious improvement to its predecessor. The production is cleaner, the instrumentation is easier to hear, and Reifert shows his true skills as a drummer. But these improvements do little to dispel the impending doom that comes with the album. As you progress through the album, never really knowing what song you are on, the aggressiveness increases. So much so that when you hit the final tracks of the record, they hit back. “Bonesaw” is sharp as fook, but nothing is sharp enough when your bones are on the line. “Dark Crusade” is green vomit in the face, and “Mental Funeral” is the demon in you finally putting you in your grave. Mental Funeral still stands as one of the strongest sophomore efforts of its time.

#1. Severed Survival (1989). When I first decided to dive into Autopsy’s discog, I started from the beginning. When I purchased Severed Survival and tossed it into my CD player, I thought my speakers were broken. To this day, nothing I play it on can make this album sound good. And that’s not a negative criticism. For one, Steve DiGiorgio’s bass is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard. And its sheer weight and volume make speakers and eardrums alike rumble to damn-near nonfunctional levels. It pops and rattles like I’m listening to a century-old record on an even older record player. But that’s the charm of Severed Survival. Without it, the album would never have its putrid attitude. From the fast-paced “Charred Remains” to the groveling “Impending Dread,” Autopsy’s debut album has stuck with me merely for its disgusting production, lyrics, vocals, and riffs. That first spin was a life-changing moment for me. Not only because I thought I’d blown my speakers but because I realized this was the death metal I’ve always needed in my life. Severed Survival remains the album I return to the most.


Ferox like Autopsy. Autopsy good.2

The Ranking:

#8. Shitfun (1995). The notorious Shitfun is so entrenched as Autopsy’s worst album that it’s scarcely worth revisiting. Unless…. ? Nope! Shitfun remains cringey juvenilia, the chortling of an unrestrained id that is badly in need of a superego to come along and skull fuck it into compliance. The record’s reputation is so terrible that it’s almost shocking to find pockets of quality here and there–but the overall impression, as noted above, is that Reifert and Corrales must have been focused on Abscess. If Autopsy had to dash something off, why the hell did they dash off so much of it?  Shitfun is not just a tough listen–it’s a reaaalllly long tough listen. NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY DEFEND THIS ALBUM.3

#7. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014). Sorry, Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves. You deserve better than a spot next to ShitfunAutopsy surprised gorehounds by releasing a new album just a year after unleashing The Headless Ritual. Its quality bodes well for Ashes, Organs, Blood and Crypts, which follows hard on the heels of Morbidity Triumphant. The novelty of “Autopsy-but-modern-production” that supercharged the band’s sound when Macabre Eternal came out had worn off by the time this one dropped, leaving THaG to stand on the strength of its songs. It does just that–“Parasitic Eye” is as good as anything they’ve done, and “King of Flesh Ripped” is a classic Reifert freakout. THaG has become the “easy” Autopsy album for me, one I can throw on when I just want to enjoy the band doing what they do. Everything ranked higher stabs just a bit deeper into my swollen brain, which is why Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves lands here.

#6. Acts of the Unspeakable (1992). This one gets lost in assessments of Autopsy’s early era. The requisite praise is heaped on Severed Survival and Mental Funeral, the requisite feces is flung at Shitfun, leaving Acts of the Unspeakable to be vaguely acknowledged as a midpoint between those extremes. It plays to me like a great band searching for where to take their sound next. Some songs continue what came before (“Necrocannibalistic Vomitorium”), some augur the unfortunate shit-caked future (“Orgy in Excrements”), and others feel like first steps down paths that Autopsy would never fully commit to walking (“Meat,” “Funereality”). It may not be their most cohesive album, but AotU remains a vital listen. The highlights soar and/or wallow, and it’s fascinating to imagine alt-universe versions of Autopsy that pursued some of the sounds explored here.

#5. Morbidity Triumphant (2022). I find no daylight between Morbidity Triumphant and the album that comes next. A band as seasoned as Autopsy should really not be indulging themselves in 41 minutes of sheer berserk lunacy. This is a bracing blast of Reifert and the gang at their most feral–the doom passages barely give you time to settle in before Autopsy starts seizing uncontrollably again. Like a car with an eleven-ring gearbox, Morbidity Triumphant buries the needle in the red with opener “Stab the Brain” and just keeps accelerating. “Knife Slice, Axe Chop” plays like Autopsy has jumper cables connecting their lizard brain directly to yours. At times it feels like neither listener nor band is going to survive Morbidity Triumphant… but what a way to go.

#4. The Headless Ritual (2013). Here’s a slab that snuck up on me. The Headless Ritual has been stuck in Macabre Eternal’s shadow, first retching for our attention while the world was still marveling over Autopsy’s first long player in sixteen years. Now that time has granted it space of its own, the album reveals itself to be a varied beast that conjures mood and menace over the course of ten killer tracks. The opening troika of “Slaughter at the Beast House,” “Mangled Far Below,” and “She Is a Funeral” launches the album flawlessly, showcasing everything Autopsy does well. The highlights keep coming, with “When Hammer Meets Bone” ranking among the outfit’s nastiest and most effective transgressions. I’m surprised The Headless Ritual landed this high, but let it gibber at you for a while and you might wind up brainwashed, too.

3. Severed Survival (1989). You shut up. This is one of the best death metal albums ever, and if we were ranking Autopsy albums by historical importance, it would obviously top the list. Severed Survival is the sound of Autopsy stripping the version of Death found on Scream Bloody Gore down to its essence, bringing the resulting slurry to a boil, and recording the disgusting noises it makes before evaporating entirely. Play opener “Charred Remains,” and the force of the band’s vision still shatters your skull all these years later.  Even though this is essentially a flawless death metal album, Severed Survival doesn’t rep a fully realized version of Autopsy. The band perfected the putrid doom side of their sound on follow-up Mental Funeral, which is why this seminal slab lands here. Shut up.

2. Macabre Eternal (2011). The epic and incredible Macabre Eternal is evidence that, while Autopsy may have been hibernating for years, ideas for Autopsy were germinating the whole time. I know of nothing else like Macabre Eternal, with its sixty-five minutes of exquisitely paced and sequenced stöopid and transgressive death metal. Opener “Hand of Darkness” invites you along for a ride that finds Autopsy expanding what they do while never losing touch with the band’s essence. Eric Cutler takes over the mic on “Dirty Gore Whore,” somehow upping the ante on the vocal antics of Chris Fucking Reifert. Reifert comes for his crown, though. The bonkers “Sadistic Gratification” lands a death metal Triple Lindy, sustaining itself over eleven minutes of depravity. Autopsy has Painkiller chained to a wall in the basement, just to be sure that Macabre Eternal has no competition for the title of “Best Comeback Ever”… and also because, in the universe the band conjures here, torturing things is fun.

1. Mental Funeral (1991). Aw, would you look at that? Our death metal boy geniuses are all grown up. Between Severed Survival and Mental Funeral, Autopsy ”matured” into a band in full control of their sound. The lurching doom that reared its head on the act’s debut staggers into the spotlight here as a newly minted partner–and thus was born Autopsy’s second child, the death-doom subgenre. The songs are there on Mental Funeral–the songs are always there with Autopsy— but the album stands out for its ability to sustain an atmosphere of nightmarish disorientation. Second track “In the Grip of Winter” pummels and plods, setting the template for a record that whips between paces with no thought spared for the listener’s delicate vestibular balance. These transitions, explored further on tracks like “Robbing the Grave” and “Hole in the Head,” are a huge part of what I love about Autopsy. That’s why I reach for Mental Funeral before Severed Survival, and that’s why this genre-expanding classic stands atop my own personal pile of innards and mystery slop as the immortal Autopsy’s best work.

Official AMG Ranking

The contributors’ votes have been cast and counted. Certain life events precluded the creation of a Google sheet to poll the entire staff, who would have ignored its existence anyway. Here, to be carved into unwilling torsos everywhere, are the results of the experiment and the Official AMG Ranking for Autopsy.

#8. Shitfun (1995), with 3 points out of a possible 24.4

#7. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014), with 7 points out of a possible 24.

#6. Acts of the Unspeakable (1992), with 10 points out of a possible 24.

#5. The Headless Ritual (2013), with 11 points out of a possible 24.

#4. Morbidity Triumphant (2022), with 14 points out of a possible 24.

#3. Macabre Eternal (2011), with 20 points out of a possible 24.

#2. Mental Funeral (1991), with 21 points out of a possible 24.

#1. Severed Survival (1989), with 22 points out of a possible 24.

If you don’t know Autopsy, you can rectify that by listening to this playlist assembled by Steel Druhm, Dr. A.N. Grier, and Ferox (with one contribution granted to our still-nameless Shitfun defender):

Addendum of Poop: In Defense of Shitfun

Shitfun overstays and actively drains brain—true! Rowdy, punky nuggets (goregrind-leaning “Fuckdog,” “The Birthing,” “Brain Damage”) capture an especially pungent side of this low-brain, high-pit brand of death metal. Autopsy sans dedicated bassist relied on sturdy plonks from the core-trio players, or one of two additional bodies from Autopsy-offshoot Abscess. So, still, why Shitfun? Trademark moments of sludgy, stoner-esque harmonies rumble with pipe-bursting low-end (“Humiliate Your Corpse,” “Maim Rape Kill Rape”) and upfront, impacted-bowel Reifert howls (“Deathmask,” “Grave Violaters,” “Bathe in Fire”)—a nasty flow with audible grit through hot-mic and string-chunked loudness. As an excretion of elements scraped off previous successes, Shitfun sounds more sonically balanced than preceding Acts and maintains a grotesque, corny identity a few plies more solid than some of the more interchangeable outings of post-reformation Autopsy. Don’t be so quick to flush it!

– Dolphin Shiterer

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