Last year Displeased Records decided to annihilate our eardrums again with a re-release of one of the crown jewels hiding in DYING FETUS’s back catalogue: The 1998 tempest “Killing On Adrenaline”. A heaven’s gift, since the fans undoubtedly knew how hard it was getting a copy of this bastard. Our beloved benefactor Displeased even threw in a couple of “extras” to satisfy the hungry fans, although they hardly add anything worth your time. The extra dvd features a one hour gig filmed in New York and Montreal while supporting DESTRUCTION. Normally this would be a real appetizer, were it not for the awful low quality hand camera footage. Nonetheless, while seeing these old concerts, it’s striking how much raw energy DYING FETUS transmitted into the pit amongst these adrenaline packed moshfreaks. The album title suddenly made a whole lot of sense. In addition we are treated to the video clip for “We Are Your Enemy” but once again the quality will leave you unsatisfied.
Let’s head over to the truly interesting part of this re-release: the album itself! By the end of the 90’s, a lot of Death Metal bands were flirting with the boundaries of aggression without having the slightest diffidence nor status to think about. Unconstrained albums full of primitive yet effective slabs of Death Metal ferocity (often backed by indie labels) conquered the scene. “Killing On Adrenaline” was one of these prime examples and did not only launch DYING FETUS’s career to new heights but it’s arguably one of their best works to date.
The album kicks off with the self-titled track, immediately showcasing all the aforementioned elements of unrestrained brutality: Fast grooving riffs, pulverizing solos and the dual vokills approach (pig squeals and slightly higher pitched grunts) drenched in an ultra-heavy production with a large emphasis on the bass sound. Even in this remastered version, the overload of bass can wring one’s hands and could have been put a lot more subtle in the mix. I’ve always considered the vocals in Grind/Brutal Death Metal to be quite an oddity. Those pig squeals and heavily distorted grunts are more of an extra instrument, adding short bursts of aggression and ferocity resulting in an increase of the overall listening experience. In case you didn’t know, DYING FETUS has two killer attractions in the vocal department. Guitarist John Gallagher masters the pinch harmonics while bassist Jason Netherton handles the higher pitched vocals. This double weapon makes the Americans’ delivery even more interesting.
What makes DYING FETUS even more absorbing is their ability to vary their song structures, running away from the often plagued monotony in this kind of Metal/Grind. “Absolute Defiance” slows down the tempo to quasi doomish, focusing heavier on the guitar wails and pig squeals. In addition, their technical supremacy on “We Are Your Enemy” and the 7-minute thriller “Procreate The Malformed” is without a doubt staggering. Without entwining an abundance of riffs, they create a near perfect symbiosis between groove and technicality. Also worth mentioning is the notorious Grind tune “Kill Your Mother / Rape Your Dog” which is more famous because of the YouTube parody videos than the underlying indictment against popular music.
DYING FETUS are easily one of the most catchy and enjoyable Death/Grind bands out there, even for genre adversaries, and this re-release just proves it. After more than 10 years, “Killing On Adrenaline” still incites awe and epinephrine when listening to it. Shame about the inferior extras.
(Online April 22, 2009)