CD Review: Dying Fetus- “The Wrong One To F*ck With”

Five years have passed since death/grindcore veterans Dying Fetus released Reign Supreme in 2012. Well, the lapse in time certainly has not dulled the group’s aggression or musical precision. Dying Fetus’s newest release, The Wrong One To F*ck With, is a solid fusion of technical death metal, grindcore and groove. Shredding guitars and chaotic drumming open the record before settling in to a signature hardcore groove on “Fixated On Devastation.” It is classic Dying Fetus as the band seamlessly changes rhythm while vocalist John Gallagher’s guttural vocals could wake the dead. “Panic Amongst The Heard” is a frantic track with its-stop start rhythms and explosive midsection of blast beats. Dying Fetus are masters of containing chaos and playing on the fringes without falling off. John’s guitar work takes center stage as he shoots riff after riff over Trey Williams’ tight percussion. “Die With Integrity” is a thrash inspired monster that does not relent. The sinister midsection is hypnotic as the guitar and drums circle the listener in before being destroyed by devastating blast beats. “Seething With Disdain” is a merciless heavy hitter with stellar lead work and ferocious drumming. The trio proving yet again how to properly combine virtuosity and brutality.

 

Wrong One is a record that requires repeated listening to hear everything going on in each track. There are so many riffs and drum beats that one will miss during the initial listen. One will be so preoccupied with the brutality of a track that they will miss an interesting guitar phrase. The production is fine with heavy emphasis on the rhythm and lead guitars. Still, one can hear the complex song structures just fine.

Dying Fetus bring the bloody goods on Wrong One To F*ck With. Fans of the band’s previous releases can expect the technical yet grooving death metal the group is known for. Whoever or whatever did “f” with the guys in Fetus certainly lit creative fire in their heads. This is a band that will stop at nothing in order to conquer the extreme metal world.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/DyingFetus/

CD Review: “Maximalism” by AMARANTHE

Electronica meets death metal on AMARANTHE’s fourth record, Maximalism. The first half of Maximalism is accessible metal with poppy hooks and choruses. The initial track “Maximize” opens with a driving techno beat followed by choppy riffs. The party continues on “Boomerang” which is an interesting mix or hip-hop, metal and techno. The guttural vocals complement frontwoman Elize Ryd’s clean singing on the chorus. Things get heavier on the second half of the album on songs like “Fury.” The thrashing riffs take precedent of over the electronic beat and causes severe headbanging. AMARANTHE shows its metalcore influence on “Faster” which melds breakdowns with house music. It works well and definitely gets one’s head bobbing. Album closer “Endlessly” is an epic metal ballad with strings and soaring, heartfelt vocals.

Bands have combined metal with dance elements for roughly 15 years now, so it is not a novel idea. However, AMARANTHE is one of the few bands that can pull it off while retaining a degree of heaviness. This stands in sharp contrast to more commercial bands that throw a few nu-metal riffs together and then overly rely on electronic samples. The Swedish sextet strikes a balance on Maximalism, allowing the band to play fast and technical but also expanding on its sound. This production on this record is clean and special attention is given to the percussion.

Maximalism is a solid record and will satisfy fans of electronica influenced death metal. There is no doubt fans of traditional death metal will deride this record for its accessibility and techno samples. However, they would probably avoid this record in the first place. Fans of Within Temptation, Epica and Evanescence should check this record out. It is definitely metal with a groove.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://amaranthe.se/

CD Review: ‘VII: Sturm Und Drang’ by Lamb Of God

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For another perspective on this album, check out David Feltman’s review.
 

I remember when my friend introduced me to Lamb Of God. He was blasting their newest album at that time, Sacrament, and I was enveloped by a combination of thrash metal and groove, which took turns assaulting me from the left and the right. Now, despite what I’ve read from some others out there, I feel that the band has, despite refining their sound, always stayed the course with their music. From 2000’s New American Gospel to the just released VII: Sturm Und Drang, the band’s seventh studio album, it has been one whirlwind of groove-filled riffs, double bass, and vocals dug from the pit of some demonic diaphragm. While some fans sit and complain of bands who never evolve and others rant over the minutest deviation from the norm, I’ll be over here enjoying this new Lamb Of God release.

I’d be surprised if anyone didn’t mention the most obvious thing about this album, which is that it rides in on the back of the band’s struggle with the loss of vocalist Randy Blythe to a Czech prison for 5 weeks and the trial that accompanied it in relation to a 2010 concert in which a fan was tragically injured and later died. Blythe was eventually acquitted, but his experiences have shaped this release. At the very least, he has spoken to the fact that the tracks “Still Echoes” and “512” were written during his time in jail, and the album’s title, German for “Storm And Stress,” seems apt given all that has occurred.

We hit the ground running from the moment the pin drops on the opening track. In fact, it feels like we’ve been dropped in the middle of a chase that was in progress before we arrived. “A thousand years of failure…” Blythe erupts amidst the commotion, making me feel reassured in my assessment. This sense of urgency continues with the following tune “Erase This,” as well as on tracks such as “Footprints” and “Anthropoid,” which steamroll over the listener with indomitable force. The twin guitar attack of Willie Adler and Mark Morton do well in pairing crushing riffs with soaring melodies, and I certainly can find no fault in the combined rhythm abilities of bassist John Campbell and drummer Chris Adler. Of course, a point of contention has already been found in tracks such as “Embers” and “Overlord,” both of which feature clean singing. However, other peoples’ complaints don’t find a home in me the same way. While others view the melodic vocals of Deftones’ Chino Moreno on the former to be out of place, I find the combination of Moreno’s clean voice with Blythe’s raspy growl to complement each other and propels the song higher. Meanwhile, Randy’s solemn singing on the blues-laden latter highlights the intensity of the track’s climactic end.

Whatever small turns might have been taken along the way, Lamb Of God has continued paving their career with a release that brings with it an aura of grandeur. This release is forceful, whether in sound or subject matter. One need only look to the album closer, “Torches,” which brings to my mind images of the start of the Arab Spring in all its self-immolating glory, to sense the passion that was coursing through Blythe as he was writing. If anyone felt that the group was losing their touch after the last few albums, Sturm Und Drang is sure to offer second thoughts. For myself, it has transformed various rooms of my house into one-man mosh pits. Thank you, Lamb Of God; my wife is not amused.

 
For more on Lamb Of God, visit:
Official Website
Buy Sturm Und Drang at: iTunes | Amazon | From The Band
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