Autopsy - Severed Survival (Peaceville) 1989
1. Horrific Obsession (4:30)
2. Feast of the Graveworm (3:28)
3. Mauled to Death (rehearsal '88) (4:25)
4. Human Genocide (rehearsal '88) (3:20)
5. Christ Denied (rehearsal '87) (3:24)
6. Charred Remains (rehearsal '88) (3:36)
7. Service for a Vacant Coffin (live '90) (3:04)
8. Disembowel (live '90) (4:32)
9. Gasping for Air (live '90) (3:19)
10. Ridden With Disease (rehearsal '88) (4:29)
11. Pagan Saviour (live '90) (4:16)
12. Severed Survival (live '90) (3:31)
13. Critical Madness (rehearsal '88) (4:23)
14. Embalmed (rehearsal '87) (2:52)
15. Stillborn (rehearsal '88) (3:02)
In the late 80's my college room mate and I would buy just about anything that was metal. He picked up records by Death and Possessed, which were the very roots of death metal. Not long after we discovered an album by Naplam Death called "Scum" and my love for death metal was born, at least for a time. I swore at the time that if metal were to get any fast, it would be one continuous tone and become unbearably boring. Unfortunately death metal bands did began to either get ultra repetitive and boring, or so over-the-top technical and noisy they were equally as boring for me. As well, many of the vocalists became clones of one another. Whereas legendary death vocalists like Chuck Schuldiner and Chris Barnes had their own unique sound, many other vocalists became cookie cutter death growlers gaining the titled "cookie monster vocals". However, there were some great bands that came out of the late 80's and early 1990's. Among those Death and Mortification are still among my favorites. However, another band whose legacy is forever cemented in death metal history is Autopsy.
Autopsy is a death metal band, founded in 1987 in the United States by drummer Chris Reifert after leaving legendary death/thrash band Death. "Severed Survival" is the debut album from the band and was released in 1989. This album mostly continues in the style of Reifert's former band, with brutal, simplistic riffing, odd drum fills and extreme vocals. The vocals are brutal yet intelligible and do not sound detuned. Then there is also the ultra-technical bass playing of Steve DiGiorgio from equally pummeling thrash/death band Sadus. Autopsy, unlike many death metal bands that would follow are not all about speed and blast beats. In fact, much of the album is mid-to-slow paced with only the occasional faster parts thrown in. The production is raw and dirty, just as it should be, though the kick drum on the original recordings are nearly inaudible. The remaster brings out some of the kick.
As is the case with many early death metal bands, the lyrics focus on b-grade horror and gore. With song titles like "Disembowel", "Service for a Vacant Coffin" and "Ridden With Disease" is there really any speculation on what the lyrical approach is? As such it's easy to see that this masterpiece of an album was hugely influential for bands that would follow such as Dismember and Cannibal Corpse.
To coincide with the album's 20th anniversary, Peaceville Records released a special two-disc edition of "Severed Survival". It includes a bonus CD of rare rehearsal and live material as well as demo versions of "Mauled to Death" and "Human Genocide", the later of which did not actually make the album. The second CD also includes two new Autopsy tracks that were recorded in September 2008. Also featured in the package is a 28-page booklet with liner notes by the band members that detail the early years of Autopsy. Also included are photos of the band from that time period and scans of old flyers and memorabilia. A great package on a legendary death metal release.