One of the pre-order packages for the new Dying Fetus album came with a knife.
It’s Dying Fetus, what did you expect? “25 years of malevolence” notwithstanding, the band has been all over the map, pushing all of the boundaries for a very long time and it’s both a big eye roll and a belly laugh of the tone that speaks, “Hell yes, Dying Fetus put a knife in their pre-orders.”
This is the first new Dying Fetus album in five years. The knife is fitting, because it immediately reminds you of what Dying Fetus has been since day one – a habitual line-stepping death metal band. It’s been a while since we’ve heard new stuff from the band, but it takes all of three seconds into the opener, “Fixated on Devastation,” for the trademark sound to fully engulf the listener.
Throughout the album, you get the authentic Dying Fetus experience and it rules. I saw this band once upon a time, about 12 years ago, and it totally ruled. They just didn’t stop being amazing and incredibly heavy. And tight. This band often sounds just so crisp that it can start to feel like some kind of cheat code.
The second track on this album, “Panic Amongst the Heard,” has a very breakdown-ish intro to it. Not anything terrible, just unnecessary. Of course, it doesn’t take long to get right into the nitty-gritty. By the time you reach the third track, “Die with Integrity,” the feeling is all good. “Die with Integrity” is a treat that has a very violent, very graphic short film associated with it. I didn’t watch it, because I’ve seen enough gore in my lifetime and I think I pretty much got the picture within the first minute. There’s a hidden nugget in this track from about 2:07 to 2:19 that absolutely rules. The whole track is solid, but that particular part is just a cut above. Felt very 90s death metal to me.
The one track that threw me off the first few times I listened to it was, “Reveling in the Abyss.” It’s an incredible 6:29 long and plods a bit too much at the outset. It takes over a minute to break out of the dun-dun dun dun-duns and swing back into the very familiar guitar prowess that makes Dying Fetus what they are. And, just like the prior track, “Die with Integrity,” there is another fantastically 90s-sounding bit thrown in around the four-minute mark. I don’t skip this song, but it’s probably the closest thing to a skip I could find on the whole album. More fun, the track has an “outro” that I’m totally not used to hearing from this band, complete with outro solo.
I don’t really want to plod through track after track. I’m not always a funny writer, but I can be boring. This album isn’t boring, so the review shouldn’t be boring.
If you include the bonus track, there are 11 cuts on this album and most of them are pretty long. This isn’t just a new album from Dying Fetus so that they can tour and cash a paycheck. It’s legitimately a good death metal record that sounds pretty much only like the DF can sound.
Of course, the band loves hardcore and that showed through a bit more on this album. At that show, I mentioned seeing in the mid-2000s, I had a chance to briefly interact with the band. I can’t remember the order of who said what about whom, but I believe it may have been the bass player who ratted out the guitar player to me as being a huge fan of 25 Ta Life. That totally rules. Maybe I have it wrong and if anyone in Dying Fetus ever sees this (hah, yeah right), maybe they can confirm/deny for us all.
There were a few other fun facts around that show. I assisted Brad, who I believe booked the show, in marking up some 100 large posters with the show info to distribute around town. Brad was a Lakers fan and also went on to be in the band Megafaun. But before that, he was a very nice dude who would sit on a dirty living room floor, talking about Dillinger Escape Plan and filling out show promo posters for Dying Fetus. He also was the first person to show me “spuds,” which is a semi-legendary food item at a local establishment.
I have those memories because of Dying Fetus. That’s really cool.
Back to 2017. I don’t have any complaints about the new album. I think it rules. A lot of bands have taken major wrong turns at some point in their history, especially in metal. Think of what Morbid Angel did a few years ago – yikes. All Dying Fetus has done on this new album is sound tighter than ever, heavier than ever, and incorporated a few new elements. There’s stuff on here that sounds very much like a New York hardcore band. There’s stuff on here that sounds like 90s death metal. There’s stuff on here that sounds like standard Dying Fetus. It’s a complete album.
Oh, and definitely make sure to listen to the very hardcore-sounding intro the the title track, "Wrong One to Fuck With." Yeah, do that.
by Daniel Coughiln