Dying Fetus is one of those artists that are always on the list of bands I use to scare away my non-metalhead friends, especially those who subscribe to the “metal is noise” school of thought. Just to bristle their jimmies some more, the band name itself is like adding cayenne to their already bleeding ears. I cannot get enough!
Five years after Reign Supreme, the Maryland death metallers are back with their newest full-length offering of unabashed violence. Despite its grammatically infuriating name, Wrong One to Fuck With is their longest record in terms of song count. Even with nine songs, do not expect your sensibilities to be given any bit of respite because the ferocity does not cease. Hell, they even chose to go back to their older, more gnarly logo, and along with that ever-so-romantic album cover, you just know that they are coming for you with their bloody cleavers raised.
Dying Fetus is nothing if not consistent, even if the word “bludgeoning” directly follows it. It is commendable that three grown men wielding a guitar, bass, and drum kit can inflict such damage to everything that is beautiful and lovely in this world. I say that as a compliment. Drummer Trey Williams is a beast behind the kit, but with the cool demeanor of a surgeon, which makes him twice as evil in my mind. His blast beats and double bass are relentless, but he is not without his own tricks and creative fills. Bassist Sean Beasely is a rock-solid musician, and with his sweeps and taps comes off as someone who doesn’t want to get left behind once the battle is on. Guitarist and only remaining founding member John Gallagher churns and sweeps and weedles his way through the whirlwind of riffs that fill this record. John and Sean handle dual vocal duties with alternating vocals, Sean with his redneck serial killer barks and John with his inhuman low-pitched barely discernable growls.
Anyone who has been following Dying Fetus knows that they stick to a formula of dizzying riffs followed by stomping slams, and that pattern hasn’t changed much with WOTFW. Fixated on Devastation is both motion-sickness inducing as well as pummeling, and Ideological Subjugation opens with a machine-gun riff and proceeds at breakneck speed but is still enjoyable as hell. One of their singles Die With Integrity opens with a truly menacing riff and is one of the more aggressively technical songs on the album. Along with the not-safe-for-anywhere video for the song, they would do their forefathers in Cannibal Corpse proud. But I like Dying Fetus best when they decide to let up on the gas even if just for a bit, and Reveling in The Abyss has quickly become one of my favorite tracks on this album because of their slammy verse section.
People who expected Dying Fetus to step away from what defines their niche will be disappointed, but this is a solid record. WOTFW is as dependable a record as death metal can be in the times we live. Production is as top-tier as we have come to expect from modern death metal with each layer and instrument ringing out true. If I were you, I wouldn’t mess with the guys at Dying Fetus, clearly, they don’t take things like that lying down.
Overall rating: 8/10
Notable tracks: Reveling in the Abyss, Die with Integrity, Unmitigated Devastation.