Released: 2012, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
If you’d told me back in January that my favorite death metal album of 2012 was going to come from Dying Fetus, I would’ve called you a fool and enjoyed a hearty laugh at your expense. But sweet crippled Christ on a stick, ‘tis I that is the fool here, because their latest album REIGN SUPREME does exactly what the title declares. The musical equivalent of a brick to the nards, Dying Fetus have upped their game considerably for the best album of their career and a crushing reminder of why you fell in love with death metal in the first place.
Lemme step back a moment…It’s not like these guys were just phoning it on across the last six albums, far from it. The trio has already amassed a respectable discography and maintains an impeccable reputation in the underground scene because of it, but REIGN SUPREME marks the point of convergence between mind blowing technical skill and a superior level of songwriting. The dizzying sweep picking and drum volleys that open “Invert the Idols” is a sort of declaration that the band isn’t f@#kin’ around here, blurring through the assault with precision hostility. REIGN SUPREME trades in much of the “groove” elements heard on DESCEND INTO DEPRAVITY for a more traditional speed and aggression approach, and it makes a HUGE difference. There’s still plenty of mid-tempo crunch to be found, but tracks like “Subjected to a Beating” and “In the Trenches” balance this with a healthy dose of blasts and blitzes. And quite frankly, the riffs and general song structure is just better than it has been in the past. Major props to guitarist/throat John Gallagher for his six string work across the album. The guy’s never been a slouch, but licks like the beginning of “Revisionist Past” and the solos along the coda of “Invert the Idols” are proof positive that the man is one of the most underrated guitarists in metal.
Beyond stepping up their musical game, Dying Fetus engages in a host of social commentary across REIGN SUPREME. Covering topics ranging from religious hypocrisy, the prison system, historical perspective, and the consequences of addiction, you really want to follow along in the liner notes to get the full impact of each tune. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the track “From Womb to Waste,” with the greatest introductory sample ever recorded: “It’s not my fault I’m pregnant and I love drugs, who cares, f@#k the baby, let it die…” It’s shocking for sure, but what an impact it has on the tune…And really, could there be a better catch phrase for a band named Dying Fetus?
Maybe it’s coincidence that REIGN SUPREME is lucky album number seven for DYING FETUS, but be it luck or design, it’s a spectacular album. REIGN SUPREME is available now through the fine folks at Relapse Records.