Family friendly death metal.
Recently I reviewed the new Decrepit Birth and lamented the fact that perhaps I am losing my ear for death metal. The new Dying Fetus seems to prove that this concern was not entirely well founded.
Just so we are clear, I believe this is the best Dying Fetus album to come out since 2000. After Destroy the Opposition the band lost me a little, something about the sound become a little too familiar and a little too forced. There is an honesty and purity in Wrong One to Fuck With that reminds me of the good old fashioned brutality of Destroy the Opposition.
The songs slam between groove and brutality in the fashion that the band seems to have mastered. The album provides a sheer and relentless brutality from start to finish. I really believe this album plays in many ways like a direct follow up to Destroy the Opposition and that is exactly what the band needed. After many years of technical wizardry but less groove I am glad to see them return to this form of metal.
To not appear as a total fanboy (and I don’t know, maybe actually review the album) there are some parts that might give folks pause. If you are a fan of the recent evolution of the band, this will feel like a step backward. Further, the album plays like Dying Fetus, but this means there isn’t a lot of reinvention. While the songs are good and brutal there is also nothing terribly surprising about them. This might be most noticeable in tracks like Reveling in the Abyss where things might feel a little too familiar. During my first listen I could predict many riffs, and this is not something a band should strive for.
For a band this late in their career it is a testament to their abilities that they can still release strong albums. In a lot of ways, this album feels a bit like a reset. I hate the saying “returning to their roots” and it isn’t entirely accurate here, but expect to see that phrase thrown around a lot. I believe their goal was to make brutal and groove-infused death metal with no other objectives, and they succeeded here.
A stand out on this album is the production quality. The last couple albums felt too synthetic for my tastes. There is still a haze in the production here that makes the sound more visceral—and closer to how they sound live. Are some areas overproduced—sure, but this is a step in the right direction production wise for death metal in my opinion.
One thing going against the band with this release is that they might not earn many more listeners. While it is a solid album, there isn’t necessarily anything new here. If people left them behind seventeen years ago they might not even notice this release. However, Fetus fans are rabid, and the dedicated following the group enjoys will certainly proselytize the group.
In the end we have a solid, albeit somewhat familiar Dying Fetus album. 8/10