There truly is nothing subtle, genteel or even remorseful about Dying Fetus. Whether it be choosing a band name destined to offend, or unleashing an album under the title ‘wrong one to fuck with’ (grammatical concerns aside), Dying Fetus are a death metal institution, free from the moral strictures of wider society and entirely dedicated to the cause of brutalising the unwary. This, the band’s eighth album since they exploded upon an unsuspecting world with ‘Purification through violence’ in 1996, sees Dhying Fetus in a particularly uncompromising mood, with even the sleeve art gleefully censored in the face of an ever-more sensitive market. Featuring ten track spread across fifty minutes, ‘Wrong one to fuck with’ is Dying Fetus doing what they do best – bludgeoning the listener (much like the character who adorns the cover) into submission with a vehemence that even seasoned fans may find intimidating.
The album does not so much begin with ‘Fixated on devastation’ as explode upon the listener with a display of technical brilliance that still manages to be unutterably heavy. Vocals remain utterly unintelligible, delivered in a corroded bark that speaks ill for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught up in John Gallagher’s lazer-guided gaze. Yet, for all that it is horrifyingly intense, there’s a dark groove at work which will keep necks snapping. Trey Williams remains a drummer extraordinaire, his inventive runs keeping the music fluid even as John is doing his best to recast his guitar as a cement mixer. No respite is in sight as the blood-spattered nightmare of ‘panic amongst the herd’ does its best to sow hatred and disorder before ‘die with integrity’ emerges from a nasty riff that sounds more like a chainsaw rending flesh than the work of a metal band. Unflinchingly evil, ‘Die with integrity’ is the sound of dark genius at work. Perfectly titled, ‘revelling in the abyss’ sees Trey deliver a stunning performance underpinning a forced death march laden with menace. Meanwhile ‘seething with disdain’ should surely be the album’s unofficial title, the arcing riffs and rhythmic shifts all destined to draw the listener into a realm of serial killers and salacious murders. There is no escape here, only blast beats pummelling the listener ever further into semi-conscious submission.
The second half of the record is also its highlight. A whirlwind fast display of shock and awe, ‘Ideological subjugation’ could easily be employed as sonic torture, it’s steel-reinforced riffs breaking against the listener’s psyche like some sort of aural storm. Not so much a song title as a written warning of what may happen to your home if you play the track at suitably high volumes, ‘weaken the structure’ nonetheless sees some deeply impressive guitar work employed in the pursuit of a track that juxtaposes the very limits of extremity with just enough elements of melody to keep the track recognisably in the realms of music. A straight up monster of a track, ‘fallacy’ dips into that weird hinterland where the music becomes so devilishly fast it borders on the hypnotic. Unwilling to allow the listener even that small measure of comfort, Dying Fetus put the brakes on with the chugging hell of ‘unmitigated detestation’. Whilst the drums pour forth like a torrential deluge, the riffs pile up around the listener threatening to crush them underfoot. The album draws to its shattering conclusion, the listener left enervated and brutalised, with the title track. A perfect blend of brutal groove and ferocious power, it perfectly sums up the many strengths of this none more vicious album and brings the record to a close on a devastating high.
Dying Fetus remain an institution of seemingly unlimited fire and fury. There is no let up, no respite amidst the churning riffs, whirlwind drumming and bowel-wrenching bass. Instead, the band opt for an assault of unmitigated brutality that will leave you breathless. Music this extreme may be for a select few but, for those for whom extremity is life blood, ‘wrong one to fuck with’ is a sweet elixir. Expect no quarter and embrace the sickness, this is Dying Fetus’ darkest, most crushing release to date. 9