A savage and long-tenured California-based death metal unit with grindcore tendencies, Autopsy were founded in the late '80s by Eric Cutler and Chris Reifert, the latter of whom had just parted ways with pioneering Florida death metallers Death.
Employing a caustic blend of thrash, doom, and death, the band released a string of influential albums like Severed Survival (1991) and Mental Funeral (1991) before shutting down operations in 1995. The group reconvened in 2010 and released an EP, The Tomb Within, followed by the uncompromising full-length Macabre Eternal. Having lost none of the sonic malice that made their earlier material so essential to the American death metal movement, the venerable decibel-pushers continued to tour and record, issuing punishing full-lengths (2013's The Headless Ritual) and EPs (2018's Puncturing the Grotesque) with youthful regularity.
Formed by ex-Death drummer Christ Reifert shortly after he relocated to San Francisco in 1987, punishing death metal unit Autopsy were rounded out by guitarists Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles and bassist Ken Sorvari, with Reifert also handling vocal duties. Signed to U.K.-based indie label Peaceville on the strength of 1988's Critical Madness demo, they released their debut, Severed Survival, two years later. Mirroring the work of fledgling English groups like Napalm Death and Carcass, the album combined traditional death metal vocals and aggression with slower, grinding riffs and utterly repellent splatter-gore lyrics. It also boasted a cameo from another Death alum, bassist Steve DiGiorgio, but Steve Cutler was handling the four-string workload come 1991 -- a busy year that saw them issuing two EPs, Fiend for Blood and Retribution for the Dead, as well as a long-player named Mental Funeral.
None of these seemed to aid the band's cause, however, and neither did 1992's Acts of the Unspeakable album (featuring next bassist Josh Barohn), which is perhaps best remembered for cover artwork so shocking that Australian customs officials immediately confiscated all units upon arrival. A long period of inactivity followed, but Autopsy eventually returned for a semi-final gratuitous and scatological adieu via 1995's Shitfun album, featuring yet another bassist, one Freeway Migliore. Finally satisfied that they'd wreaked enough havoc, Reifert and Coralles moved on to a new project called Abscess and the former later joined Nuclear Assault's Danny Lilker in the Ravenous. A best-of set entitled Torn from the Grave was released in 2001, intended as a wrap-up, but in 2008, after reconvening to record two bonus tracks for the 20th anniversary edition of Severed Survival, the band announced plans to head back into the studio. The resulting Tomb Within EP arrived in 2010, followed in 2011 by the group's fifth studio long-player (and first since 1995), the remarkably resolute Macabre Eternal. The album featured the new core lineup of founders Reifert, Cutler, and Coralles and new bass player Joe Trevisano, all of whom returned for the band's next three full-length outings, 2013's Headless Ritual, 2014's Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves, and 2019's Skull Grinder. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi