Founded by ex-Death
drummer Christ Reifert shortly after he relocated to San Francisco in 1987, punishing death metal unit Autopsy was 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
, 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), 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 two full-length outings, 2013's Headless Ritual and 2014's Tourniquets, Hacksaws, and Graves. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi