Reviewed: [February 2022]
Released [2022 Nuclear Blast Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Promo materials describe Fit For An Autopsy’s (FFAA’s) sound as “post-deathcore.” And while that might not seem particularly appetizing to most folks here – myself included, at least on the “deathcore” end of things, got no real issue with “post” in most cases – it’s not nearly as dreadful as you might imagine. Far from it, in fact.
Especially once you get past that title track, which opens things with a breakdowny thud after the typical moody, slight-of-hand opening – here with some piano strains and jazzy percussion before the hammer inevitably falls. But the bracing “Pandora” quickly shifts gear into more of a Black Dahlia Murder-ish tech-death sprint with some nifty cutting riffs that stand up well against the crunching choruses. The inevitable breakdowns don’t seem as leaden or jarring in this context.
The same holds true of tunes like “Collateral Damage” or “In Shadows,” which adds clean choruses for contrast to Joseph Badolato’s formidable Corpsegrinder-like roar, or the spry, crafty “Savages.” Throughout Oh What the Future Holds, the deathcore elements get pushed to the side to a degree and end up playing a supporting – though often emphatic – role instead of forming the, well, core of the New Jersey sextet’s overall sound, something they began moving toward with 2019’s The Sea Of Tragic Beasts.
There are some exceptions, like the turgid “Conditional Healing” or “A Higher Level of Hate,” which quickly abandons the tribal beat that kicks it off in favor of just a plain old beatdown. Yawn! But they prove more the exception that the rule, which is to be applauded.
Indeed, the more adventurous tracks here prove to be the most rewarding. “Far From Heaven” plays lithe rhythms again heaving verses and Gojira-like melodic swells – with some with some of their trademark spider walk guitar lines, to boot – and made a fine, and far from obvious, choice as the album’s first single. “Two Towers” echoes Deftones with its breathy vocals and deliberate chug – at least at the outset – while the epic brood of “The Man That I Was Not” closes the album out with a hint of emo-like self-reflection until, as with the title track, the bombast begins in earnest.
Thanks to the production of founding guitarist/main songwriter Will Putney – who is perhaps better known for his studio work with everyone from Body Count to Thy Art Is Murder, After The Burial and The Human Abstract – FFAA’s music remains as heavy and dense as ever on Future. But he is also able to capture the nuance and depth of the band’s expanding canvas, giving the newer elements the space they need to really make their presence known.
Despite the sonic shifts, there is nothing tentative here. FFAA go headlong into this new direction with conviction and purpose – not unlike The Acacia Strain, who Putney has worked with extensively, and their sidestep into epic, conceptual doom metal. And call it what you will, “post-deathcore” or whatever, Future comes out a winner in the end because of it.