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An improvement, but still wanting. - 64%

hells_unicorn, January 31st, 2011

The year was 1998, Suffocation was completely out of the picture, Cryptopsy may as well have been also given the lost of Lord Worm and the shift in character that they underwent, leaving a very present vacuum in the technical and brutal fringes of death metal, while the emergent black metal phenomenon was beginning to pick up steam. In keeping with all of this, it is easy to look at Dying Fetus as heroes of sorts for this style given their relatively consistent follow up in “Killing On Adrenaline”, which is a departure from their previous album in that it listens a little less like a grind album and more like death metal, and that the lyrics have shifted away from mere shock Cannibal Corpse style to the preferred subject of Six Feet Under, politics.

While some massive production issues still loom in this otherwise superior opus, this is more in line with the sort of album that is befitting of a band looking to sound more like themselves and less like a Cryptopsy clone. The technical elements are still very much present, along with the varied mixture of indecipherable guttural vocalizations and semi-intelligible hard core barks, but there is a heavier emphasis on mid paced breakdowns and even a few dragging slow sections that give the album a slightly sludge-like character at times. The downside is that this is the first peak at what would come to be the semi-rapped rhythmic vocal work that tends to make the accusations of seeking the crown of wiggerdom stick to John Gallagher like superglue.

For the most part, this album is at its best when the band stretches things out and explores all the possibilities within their highly varied style instrumentally. “Killing On Adrenaline” and “Fornication Terrorists” make a couple of solid manifestos of what this band is capable of when they mix things up a bit, and also contain some really kick ass shred sections that are actually fairly tasteful in comparison to the woeful overindulgence that permeates many post-2005 technical bands. There’s still some really goofy B.S. going on here that kind of brings things down a bit, not the least of which being the short and comical “Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog”, which gets dangerously close to Biohazard territory during the breakdown section and is so brief that it may as well not be on the album.

The good actually outweighs the bad on this album, but this still is somewhat caught in “hard to digest” territory. I have yet to understand why a lot of grind influenced bands during this time period and later insist on such an obnoxiously popping snare sound and an overly quiet drum production alongside an utterly overloud and mechanical guitar and bass sound. This is a little bit better than the previous album in that the guitar sound is somewhat crisper, but it still reeks of inferior equipment, even though at this point the band was probably upgrading their toolset. For anyone who really loved “None So Vile”, this is somewhat geared in that direction, but for the most part the late 90s was a pretty dry spot for brutal death metal and saw the rise of the melodic alternative, and this album reflects that trend.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on January 30, 2011.