July 21, 2011

Music Review: Dying Fetus - A Fistful of Re-issues

Killing on AdrenalineNo, the band has not released a new album called A Fistful of Re-issues. Although, I have to say that it sounds like a solid out of left field sort of title. No, this is just an overview review of a few remastered reissues that have come out from Relapse Records. They have dug into the past of Dying Fetus and remastered some of their out of print earlier releases. These include the EP Grotesque Impalement, a collection of early demo material Infatuation with Malevolence, and their first two full length albums Purification Through Violence and Killing on Adrenaline. Based on the album names alone, I have to think these guys are just a wee bit angry!

It is no secret that my growing love and appreciation of metal has been a long in development work in progress. I found music in general pretty late, 80's hair metal was my gateway drug and that was going well until the early 90's came along and I found myself detoured by grunge. Slowly through the 1990's I saw my tastes begin to grow, develop, and take some sort of shape. Metal was the genre I always came back to. There was something about the sound, the heaviness, the uncompromising nature that just spoke to (and continues to speak to) me. However, due to my late arrival and cursed with a curiosity that spreads through many genres and well into film, there are always bands that reach me that I have never heard of or heard. At the same time I am blessed to be able to make some of these discoveries in a better position to appreciate them.

This whole thing leads into my giving over some time to Dying Fetus and these reissues. Dying Fetus is a band I have heard of but had never actually listened to. They were one of those bands that was just back burnered in favor of other acts and albums that struck me as more attractive. I made a big error in judgment. Dying Fetus is one intense band!

Do not get me wrong, I am not about to crown them the be all end all of metal, nor am I inclined to label them among my favorite bands. Still, there is something about them that is quite attractive, in a brutal, punch you in the face and step on your neck kind of way. Across all of these albums you see a band that is uncompromising in the way they deliver their music. It is raw, no matter who old or new the music is, an immediate brutality that hits fast and hard and is impossible to ignore.

The style strikes me as a cross between death and grind and it is pretty damn infectious. Blast beats, fast runs, slowed down chugs, and vocals that sound like someone choking on their own blood and entrails. Please, don't ask me what they are saying, I can scarcely make out any words. Although, it is my understanding that the two earliest releases contain standard extreme death lyrical tropes of violence and gore while the later releases see them move into more politically charged topics. Frankly, I am not sure that I care all that much, the music and the sound of the voice is enough for me.

It is actually pretty interesting listening to these albums in sequence. You can hear the development of their sound from the early days in 1993 and 1994 through the release of 2000's Grotesque Impalement. The raw energy, drive, and skill is demonstrated early and honed into a fine edge weapon that retains a menacing edge from its youth.

Whether or not you should check these out is a rather simple question. If you like extreme metal and don't know these guys, get them. If you are a fan who came in late, get these. The remastering sounds great (although I am unfamiliar with the original releases) and doesn't clean them up too much, the rough edges are still there. They also each come with rare live and demo recordings.

Highly Recommended.

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