When it comes to brutal death metal it does not come much more brutal, or deathly, than Dying Fetus who on this, their seventh album, fulfil the promise of the title admirably and reign supreme over their peers via nine tracks of skull-pulverisingly intense sonic shock therapy that is laden with displays of dexterity and power.
Clocking in at a meagre thirty-eight minutes, it is clear that ‘Reign supreme’ means business. Opening track ‘invert the idols’ is a miniscule two minutes of tortured vocals, fret-board mangling technical riffs and hyper-speed drums that showcases that even after six albums, countless EPs and numerous line-up changes, the legendary band have lost none of their fire or determination. A song that opens apace only to end in a vortex of cosmic sludge, it’s brevity has nothing to do with a lack of ideas and then we’re hurled into the mid-tempo grind of ‘subjected to a beating’, a visceral and toxic blast of putrid air that does as good a job of aurally representing a physical attack as you can imagine from a band who count Cannibal Corpse amongst their peers. Harder, heavier, thrashier, ‘second skin’ comes at you like a knife-wielding maniac only to suddenly change gear and plunge into the sort of frightening sludge peddled by Buzzov*en, maintaining only the band’s stunningly unpleasant vocal style and occasional blasts of warped riffing to keep the track from disappearing into the very core of the earth. It’s a memorable, powerful and devastatingly violent assault that will leave you reeling from its studied ferocity.
“It’s not my fault that I’m pregnant and I love drugs…” And so begins ‘from womb to waste’, a terrifying glimpse into the dirty, shame filled world of mothers shattered by an addiction to drugs and their damaged, broken and destroyed offspring. Lyrically intelligent and unflinching in its steady gaze upon the white and squirming underbelly of life, it’s a deeply unpleasant song tempered by some truly astonishing playing and the fact that these things need to be said, even if such a subject necessarily encourages revulsion, it also encourages thought. ‘Dissidence’ is a crushing blast of demented riffing, whilst ‘in the trenches’ cruises into sight on the back of an old-school thrash riff that recalls the mighty Testament at their heaviest. Air guitarists will be in seventh heaven at the amazing fluidity demonstrated on ‘Devout atrocity’ by John Gallagher whose remarkable skill is matched only by the almost mechanical complexity of Trey Williams’ percussive assault, whilst the latter half of the song is so utterly brilliant it beggars description and simply demands you genuflect in its presence such is the overwhelming power the band can bring to bear. ‘Revisionist past’ is another track that demonstrates Dying Fetus’ utter mastery of their respective instruments, opening with a blistering solo and only increasing in intensity from there. That just leaves final track ‘the blood of power’ to close the album in fine style as the riffs pile up and you can all but see the splinters flying off Trey’s sticks as he smashes out the furious rhythms that are spread across the songs various tempos and riffs. It seems fitting that the band have saved the best for last and it’s as brutal, as furious a closing statement as you could wish for.
Like the very best death metal bands what sets Dying Fetus apart are their intelligently crafted lyrics and the sheer variety that they introduce into every song. Their grasp of dynamics is terrifying, their musical ability unerring and the result is an album that is savage, furious and devastatingly intense. Fans of Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death will certainly be in awe of this remarkable display and Dying Fetus have once again reminded the world of their power, integrity and savagery. ‘Reign Supreme’? Did we ever really expect anything less? Dying Fetus have demonstrated once again that they are true masters of their craft – this is as essential as death metal gets.
Want to check out how close we are with our review? Watch the video for ‘from womb to waste’ below: