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Classic Review: Autopsy - Severed Survival/Retribution For The Dead
Severed Survival/Retribution For The Dead

Label: Peaceville Records
Year released: 1993
Duration: 54:05
Tracks: 14
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: February 17, 2006
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers Rating
Severed Survival/Retribution For The Dead

Rated 4.44/5 (88.8%) (50 Votes)

"Like a razor through your bowels" would be a more than accurate description for this classic masterpiece of absolute heinous death metal. It's both sharp and savage, tearing away at your face like a rabid pitbull. The guitars are sludgy as hell, at once aping Tony Iommi's classic metal blueprint, while heaving up gobs of mucus-ridden vomit and filth. Then there's the solo's - shredding, harmonized, and purely fucking metal. Make no mistake here - Autopsy were one of the most utterly METAL death metal bands ever. Every riff and lead break on this thing is an expertly crafted sledgehammer to face, but it's never brutality for its own sake.

Then there's the rhythm section, which is where the brutality factor comes into play. Chris Reifert doesn't play a single blastbeat on this album, but his drumming is an animalistic pounding menace, constantly mashing your skull with its barbaric power. Not to say he's just hammering away like a mongoloid though - the rhythmic structures constantly shift to perfectly complement the riffage, always appropriate to the musical needs of the songs. Whether he's backing up an insane tremolo attack with a volley of thunderous rolls, underpinning a sludge-ridden crawl with a double-bass hammer, or simply bashing away under thrashing insanity, Reifert owns all over this disc. All the while, the legendary Steve Digiorgio provides his trademark fretless shredding, weaving in and out of the guitar framework like a man possessed.

And of course, no Autopsy review would be complete without ranting about the vocals and lyrics. Conveyed as they are in an inhuman vomited bark, this was one of the first death metal albums ever where a lyric sheet was an absolutely essential component, because you're not going to be deciphering anything much from listening. Autopsy seriously set the standard of gore and sickness here, covering all sorts of insane topics - necrophilia and corpse desecration ("Service For A Vacant Coffin"), violent death ("Disembowel", "Severed Survival"), plagues and sickness ("Ridden With Disease") and of course, insanity leading to violent death and corpse desecration with some necrophilia thrown in (mostly everything else).

The version I own also contains the classic "Retribution For The Dead" EP, which is seemingly the most common release of this album, since those tracks were included on nearly every CD of it except the original. It's a short one, consisting of the title track and two earlier versions of "Destined to Fester" and "In The Grip Of Winter" from the subsequent album Mental Funeral. These are the best versions though, since they're wrapped in a much heavier, more vibrant production job than the lifeless sludge of Mental Funeral.

Basically, if you like death metal, you need this album. If you don't like it, you're a dick and would be better off listening to metalcore.

Other related information on the site
Review: Dark Crusades (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Macabre Eternal (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Mental Funeral (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Puncturing the Grotesque (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: The Tomb Within (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Interview with Chris, Eric, Joe and Danny on September 17, 2011 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on January 2, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on December 17, 2017 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer and vocalist Chris Reifert on October 18, 2022 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist and drummer Chris Reifert on May 8, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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