SummaryThe apogee of Dying Fetus
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This delves right into the meat of it: scornful deathgrind with fat power chord grooves, high-energy tremolo picking over blasts, riddled with technical riffing often of the experimental variety. Many riffs will catch the listener off-guard, whether it’s a slide-riff over the lower strings (like the inexplicable verse riff off Track 1 right after the intro) or parts utilizing open string picking or some of the odder rhythm patterns. The songs cover all possible tempos for this style alternating consistently between hyper speed and slow dirges throughout the tracks, like a collection of riffs thrown in together yet with a certain cohesiveness to it. Most songs do feel distinct but some of them will contain so many different sections it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of what song is playing, in typical Dying Fetus fashion. There are choruses (the self-titled track as a good example) and recurring main riffs so the songs usually have a foundational basis to work on.
The atmosphere on the album shifts between darkly melodic and quasi euphoric (some outright major scale parts which can feel odd and out of place, but they work !) in particular on the tremolo riffs, while the rest is either epic in tone or so busy with the technicality it comes across as demonstrative and rather neutral thematically. Some parts musically sound like straight up hardcore with uptempo 1-2-1-2 kick/snare driven power chord stomps often introduced by one soloed guitar before the full instrumental comes in, and then the band will sometimes venture into a wild sweep picking part used as a riff. It’s like a mixture between heads down technical death metal, hectic grindcore and the wider sounding hardcore parts, and the band switches up between those without transition. The tracks will deliver a shit-ton of heavy and frantic content, and then just come to an abrupt end before the next starts. It’s undeniably intense, ravaging stuff and it never lets down and manages to always come up with fresh new ideas track in track out.
The vocals are the usual combo of barely intelligible low barks and louder abrasive shouting. Double vocals occur occasionally (see the emphatic one in the middle of ‘For Us or Against Us’). The drums could only be described as hyperactive and in constant motion even during the steadier verse sections as the drummer will blast away but interrupt and squeeze in snare or tom fills, almost counter-intuitively in parts adding to the technical vibe of the record.
Every song is good in its own right and the album being framed into a compact 36-min format only makes it more efficient. The songs aren’t particularly short but they somehow don’t feel like they’re unending collections of arbitrary riffs, as the band manages to make each track count with just enough variation in the guitar work to maintain relevance all the way til the end of the record. It’s also dynamic structurally and skillfully paced where it could’ve been dull and felt too continuous. Other albums in tech-death can also be dynamic but still feel boring or just exhausting and not worth the listening effort quite fast as there’s too much concentrated content. This isn’t one of those: it’s clinical, balanced and as well executed as it is written with an inspired drive. The band would go on to release a heap of abundantly heavy albums in a more modern setting but gradually lose of its essential classic death metal edge and narrow down to a more formatted sound. One of the better albums in the field.
Release date: October 3rd, 2000
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