John Gallagher’s Maryland Death Metallers are back with album number seven in the form of ‘Reign Supreme’. Dying Fetus are now into their third decade and seem to have a relatively settled line-up for the first time in a while.
The new album contains pretty much what you would expect from Dying Fetus. I don’t have a huge knowledge of the band, but I’ve heard enough of them over the years to realise that this is the sort of Brutal Death Metal they have been melting faces with for most of their career. ‘Reign Supreme’ is an explosive dash of an album. What Dying Fetus do very well is to mix up blasts of superfast technical sections with hook filled catchy riffs. This mixture of outright extreme mayhem and catchy grooves shouldn’t work, it’s normally one approach or the other, but it works for Dying Fetus.
The production is also very slick on ‘Reign Supreme’. The crystal clear sound helps the technical sections burst out at 100 mph without getting lost in a sludgy car crash of solos and blast beats. That said, the vocals are typical (largely undecipherable) death growls from both members of the vocal team and the drums race away at such a pace that they have no chance of holding onto any polish added from the improved production. So it’s not as if Dying Fetus have got too sickly sweet!
The album is largely themed on politics and war. ‘From Womb to Waste’ concentrates on drug use during pregnancy instead but all the songs pack a similar mighty punch. Most songs follow a similar pattern of killer riff – splurge of technical brilliance – hardcore style breakdown (and repeat). It works brilliantly too. ‘In the Trenches’ has a particularly infectious thrash riff whereas album opener ‘Invert the Idols’ goes for the fret board melting technical approach. Star of the show is second track ‘Subjected to a Beating’ which has a big groovy riff with stop/start blast beats from Trey Williams, before the track inevitably goes headfirst into guitar wizardry of Olympic standard.
With ‘Reign Supreme’, Dying Fetus have delivered exactly what everyone wants from a band like this. It is brutal, groove-ridden and sounds huge. A perfect soundtrack for letting off some steam. The relative stability of the band has obviously paid off with the song writing and performance levels both attaining ace standard on this latest effort.