Released: 2006, Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Autopsy’s short, but highly-influential, career left an indelible mark on the death metal scene. Borne from the ashes of Death (and later acting as the catalyst for Abscess’ formation), bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation and Carcass owe a great deal to Autopsy’s no-holds-barred approach. Peaking with their disgustingly adorned album, SHITFUN, in 1994, Autopsy called it quits after only four albums but Peaceville Records has released DARK CRUSADES, a double DVD featuring raw live and rehearsal footage. The back cover cites a warning that the material on DARK CRUSADES is “warts ‘n all,” which is an understatement. At over two hours, it is a challenge to sit through the entire program because of the exceptionally poor quality. I’ve seen umpteenth-generation bootleg videos that look better than this stuff, so tread carefully!
The early rehearsal footage from April 1988 sees Autopsy just starting out, playing at ear-shattering volume in bassist Ken Sorvari’s living room while his children mill about. This is raw to the bone but it signifies a point in time of the band’s genesis. The other three shows that are featured take place between June 1993 and July 1994 (the band’s very last gig) and are shot at various California clubs. Again, this footage is extremely rough but fans of the band will revel in seeing Autopsy at its creative peak.
It’s difficult to assign a grade to DARK CRUSADES. Autopsy received little coverage due to their extremely graphic lyrics and artwork, so any pro-shot footage is out of the question and we should be lucky to get what we do. Still, the god-awful quality of this footage makes it hard to recommend. With a strong caveat in place, I suggest DARK CRUSADES to only the most rabid Autopsy fans out there who will appreciate what little is available, turn a blind eye to the audio and video quality and merely revel in the moment.