Justify Your Shitty Taste: Autopsy’s “Shitfun”

Almost every band has that album: you know, the critically and/or commercially reviled dud in an otherwise passable-to-radical back catalog. Well, every Wednesday morning, a Decibel staffer or special guest will take to the Deciblog to bitch and moan at length as to why everybody’s full of shit and said dud is, in fact, The Shit. Speaking of, er, just that, today Jonathan Horsley takes Autopsy’s notorious Shitfun to the Super Bowl.

So, here’s where Justify Your Shitty Taste gets taken a little too literally for comfort and those eating lunch can get sore at Autopsy for bringing man’s unspeakable brown-gore to the table. Hell, all those polite enough to leave the room when breaking wind may as well look away now.

Autopsy were never a band known for good taste and a surfeit of songwriting subtlety, but by the time they were touching cloth with Shitfun it was like they’d lost a certain something. They might have misplaced the evolutionary bookmark that separates us from the animals and regressed into a pre-Neanderthal/post-breakdown state, but they’d also lost the ability to care. By the time of its release, Abscess was already a proper thing, and its punkier sci-fi horror no doubt looked a more exciting prospect and alternative vehicle for drummer/growlsmith Chris Reifert and guitarist Danny Coralles to riff on the disgusting and impure.

Looking at death metal in 1995, there wasn’t an abundance of love for Autopsy—at the very least they were regarded as out-of-step with the genre’s ’roided brutality and blast beats. Sure, it’s great that everybody now recognizes that Autopsy’s blunt wit helped chisel much of extreme metal’s ugliest, most engaging features, but tell that to the Autopsy merch guy from back then, bored stiff in a half-empty venue, or try to find the cover features when the band were rolling out Shitfun. No one really gave a fuck, or at least cared enough, and this album could be seen as the band’s overly-stoned dirty protest—an in-joke, even. This is what happens when you don’t pay the disturbed enough attention.
autopsy cover
The cover art neatly bags and tags all that is wrong with Shitfun, and is partly why the album was certainly reviled in certain quarters and ignored by the rest. The image is just a simple shot of someone with a shit in their mouth. The black surrounding it just focuses your eye on the shit, and the mouth. And who can even be sure of the sex of this coprophagist-at-arms? All you can see is that shit, in the mouth. It’s foul. A peek into Vincent Locke’s wank bank would throw up less disturbing images than this mouth/shit juxtaposition. A brown vinyl release compounded the conceptual horror, but that’s where Shitfun’s limitations end.

Sixteen years later, though, Shitfun deserves its place in the sun. It’s kind of ironic, but the reason this album deserves some love today is not because Autopsy have just released Macabre Eternal—shorthand for “album of the year”— and because old-school death metal is en vogue, but because it was made for the MP3 format. Think about it: those caveats concerning the cover, the monotone poo brown lyrics and the general vibe that Autopsy have gone and given up, stopped showering and can be reached through the Department of Social Services, all evaporate when Shitfun is jammed on the iPod and shoved in your pocket. C’mon, Reifert’s singing voice is indecipherable. It’s Autopsy on auto-pilot, but even when asleep at the wheel and verging on out-right puerility, Autopsy are better than most, and shit on all those no-mark gore-grind bands from a great height.

You should seriously be jonesing for fresh Autopsy tracks right now, seeing as how they’ve exhumed their career after a 14-year hiatus and are back on message with Macabre Eternal. You can’t have too many Autopsy records, and you’ve definitely got room in your collection for one album that’s daft enough to go there and decorate the accepted gore template with excrement. And besides, what better after-dinner conversation with a loved one than discussing the philosophical thrust behind such tracks as “Burnt to a Fuck,” “Humiliate Your Corpse” and “Fuckdog”?

1. “Deathmask”
2. “Humiliate Your Corpse”
3. “Fuckdog”
4. “Praise the Children”
5. “The Birthing”
6. “Shiteater”
7. “Formaldehigh”
8. “I Sodomize Your Corpse”
9. “Geek”
10. “Brain Damage”
11. “Blood Orgy”
12. “No More Hate”
13. “Grave Violaters”
14. “Maim Rape Kill Maim”
15. “I Shit on Your Grave”
16. “An End to the Misery”
17. “The 24 Public Mutilations”
18. “Bathe in Fire”
19. “Bowel Ripper”
20. “Burnt to a Fuck”
21. “Exremental Ecstacy”