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This collection of Dying Fetus' early demos could be interpreted as the band's first 'real' release, and boy does it manage to be nearly as uninteresting as 'War Of Attrition'. I would almost say that the band was TRYING to be awkward and uninteresting, like making death metal as still and lifeless as this was some sort of deranged performance art project, but I think that's ascribing a great deal more intelligence to Dying Fetus than I think they've ever had. It's probably Dying Fetus at their most technical, so I'll give them that, but man, apparently the technicality hamstrung this band massively. Thank god they lost a significant amount of it on the next record.
This sounds a great deal like Fleshgrind trying to be thugs, which is possibly the most awkward combination of sounds in the world. Imagine a robot covering Devourment and you're very close to what this sounds like. The delivery of the music here is incredibly mechanical, just like Fleshgrind, but instead of having the cold and cruel atmosphere of that band's early work, Dying Fetus on this record attempts to play thuggish NYDM, a style that really relies on a much warmer, looser sound. It's really as though this music is played by machines; there's no tonal variation or particular feeling in any note; I'd imagine that this release would sound essentially the same if every instrument was synthesized. The drumming is so overly tight that it genuinely sounds programmed, and any effort to add a bit of feeling through a groove or syncopated snare pattern feels just as ridiculous as if you tried to give your mom a hug but, whoops, it's actually just a bunch of chicken wire.
The music itself isn't that remarkable either; most of the riffs have a lot of notes just for the sake of having a lot of notes. All the attempted grooves are awkward and misplaced and immediately gobbled up by another round of machinelike blasting and unmemorable riffs. It barely feels like music at all at times, like you told a computer to make a song but didn't really give it any parameters of how to go about it. It makes for music that I guess sounds like death metal as far as aesthetic goes but is as real as a wax replica is to a human being. Occasionally there's some headbangability here and there, but the band is unwilling to stick to one rhythm or riff for more than fifteen seconds, so all the good on this record is forgotten immediately after it appears. To top it off, every song sounds like it takes somewhere around a century to end, making the experience of a bunch of notes going nowhere that much more frustrating.
Apparently everyone in the band started smoking a lot of weed after this release and got worse on their instruments, which makes the band's actual full-length albums much more tolerable than this one. I don't understand the appeal of this or why anyone would want to listen to it apart from being a curiosity piece. It makes me feel awkward when I listen to it, bad awkward, like dancing with a girl and feeling her erection against your leg.
Whilst most people ignore this album due to the lesser technical drumming, mediocre production levels and the groove stature which Dying Fetus have undertaken for the earlier portion of their career, this album is indubitable proof that a bands' "will" to compose such violent and cerebral, destructive music outstrips the "negativities" of the factors which the music is to be judged upon i.e. production and technique.
With prominent and dominant influences from Suffocation, Dying Fetus might appear to be one of the Suffocations' clones such as Pyrexia at some parts. Yet the song structures rely more on antagonistic, straightforward implications in order to give the listener a clear view of what the band aims for, with songs continuously changing riffs, rather than the intricate, riffing repetitiveness of Suffocation. Such Dying Fetus tactics can be seen on songs such as "Eviscerated Offspring", "Wretched Flesh Consumption" & "Vomiting the Fetal Embryo".
The most interesting sections in this album however, are the syncopations, also heavy influence of Suffocation, which allow the listener to capture the band at their most intense levels. The drums usually shine here since the riffs provide an easy opening for a break or fill, which is common. The percussions aren't a key part to this material, but they emphasis on the relentlessness of the band and if the kick drum stood out more, the album would probably have gained more attention.
The vocals here get mixed feelings from me. John is an extremely powerful voice and the less you get of him, the better it gets. The screeching vocals provided by the not so prominent bassist are a downfall in this album; they simply have no real feeling.
This brings me to another negative impact here, the general atmosphere of the music. It seems obvious that when a band has no philosophical, religious or political perspectives, they speak about gore even though it has been hundreds of times. While this band has later proved to be against religion and capitalism, this album doesn't capture any of that whatsoever, so when you read the lyrics, they feel empty and pointless with no real direction.
To conclude this, Dying Fetus have given a rather powerful debut that was only matched by "Purification Through Violence" later on, and never again regained their superior songwriting abilities and started writing more generic material for the crowds. This work is powerful and worthy of a listen, although is has achieved nothing special in particular, it is much better than what loads of other bands have been able to churn up afterwards.