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Born Undead - 90%

Infernali, September 13th, 2012

Without doubt one of the pioneering and founding fathers of death metal, Autopsy did it their way and always have with no compromise even when the band fell apart in 1995; they still left on a high with the brutal “Shitfun” album. Resurfacing from entombment in 2008 the Autopsy reanimation into today’s death metal scene was seen as a revelation for some and a gift from the grime gods for others as many a young fan probably wasn’t even alive when the band released “Severed Survival” in 1989. Fast forward to 2010, a landmark year for Autopsy with their inaugural reunion show at Maryland Deathfest 8 taking place. Said show is in full on this DVD, but more of that later as Peaceville’s staunch affiliation with Autopsy sees this massive DVD being released. Comprising of nearly five hours of material split over three sections covering a biography, live and extras, I decided to watch the “History Of Horror” component that covers the bands extensive biography from the viewpoint of Chris Reifert (drums and vocals), Eric Cutler (guitar), Danny Coralles (guitar), Joe Allen (bass) plus a slew of other characters such as Dan Lilker, Pat Webster, Ross Sewage, Matt Savage and Paul Mazurkiewicz, and if you don’t know who they are then research metal archives.

The “History Of Horror” chronologically covers the bands history with each band member offering their own version of events which for the most part coincide very well, with the odd conflict appearing here and there. Each release, including the EPs, is tackled in great detail alongside the persistent bass player issues which just never seemed to work out for various reasons, though Steve DiGiorgio was a lifesaver in the early days. The very early days of 1986 and 1987 are discussed alongside the time in Death with Chuck and the amicable split that took place creating the formation of Autopsy from a newspaper article about the bludgeoning of a guy with a lead pipe where the word autopsy was used. Without divulging all the details, the historical retrospective comprehensively details the recording, mixing and production of all releases including all positive and negative aspects. The details of tours are shown with all the pros and cons of such events, up to and including the ill fated final US tour that resulted in the band breaking up and Reifert forming Abscess. The band was burnt out as the last tour was a total disaster and caused fraught relationships with being on the road and in contact with each other 24/7. The biography is over two hours long and flashed by such is the riveting information that is provided alongside a narration to fill in other details. The whole history section is interlaced with relevant live footage of the time and is sequentially excellent.

The second section is a series of live pieces beginning with the rehearsal for the Maryland Deathfest 8 that has two songs played that are not in the live set. The live set is semi-pro shot with about four or five cameras covering the event and a very strategically placed camera used for Reifert for obvious reasons. The bulldozing sound of Autopsy is resolutely intact showcasing the eerie and sublimely creepy guitar riffing and solos very well. Coupled to that Reifert’s zombie like growl is awesome flanking the devastating drums and Dan Lilker’s terrifying bass bombardment. Material from every album is covered including a tune from the first demo which sounds brilliantly updated. There are also excerpts from the saturated Party San Open Air show in 2010 with “Critical Madness”, my personal favourite being bloody awesome. The rather strangely shot excerpt from Hole In The Sky (Norway) in the same year has a fish eye camera on the drum riser, a stage gantry camera filming from the back, photo pit footage and balcony footage it appears. The filming is grainy but the sound is intact. Final live piece is from The Slaughter By The Water show in 2011 with Joe Allen on bass this time, the others having Dan Lilker. The sound is fairly weak here with the leads suffering big style, though being a bonus piece one can’t complain too vociferously I guess. The extras section contains three promos for “All Tomorrow’s Funerals”, “My Corpse Shall Rise” and “The Tomb Within”; nothing fancy here with studio and live footage being used with some basic CGI effects on “My Corpse Shall Rise”. There is also the tune “Voices” performed on the Creepy Kofy Movie Time show, looks strange but works well enough. Most Peaceville releases are reasonably priced and I expect this to be too with it’s nicely presented digibook and photos creating a gargantuan Autopsy project you’ll be watching for a very long time.

Originally written for www.rawnervezine.co.uk