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Not flawless, but a good start - 65%

Noktorn, May 18th, 2007

It's interesting to see how the blurred lines between hardcore and metal are no longer relegated to the realm of metalcore now. More and more often you're seeing bands from the more extreme genres drawing influence from hardcore and vice versa, while eschewing much of the more primitive roots of metalcore or even chest-beating tough guy hardcore. Despised Icon's 'The Ills Of Modern Man', for example, tore out its metalcore influence and just made a straight line between death metal and hardcore with essentially no branches between. In a different way, this is what we see with Fetal Syndrome's 'My Perfect Child' EP: a breed of death metal/hardcore with a dash of Pantera-style groove metal that, while still a bit hit or miss, forms a solid enough basis for the band's future.

The four tracks here exhibit a fairly high degree of technicality and variety at the expense of a singular musical vision. Each member of the band is fast and skilled with their instruments (though some slip-ups are noted: Angel Cotte's hands are uniformly good, but his double bass needs a bit of tightening), and the compositions that they make with them are usually pretty good. While they often have a bit of a 'riff salad' feel to them, there are enough engaging portions (such as the Strapping Young Lad-derived epic portion of 'My Perfect Child (What The Fuck)') to keep things moving. The only real filler track here is the third, which doesn't seem to have much purpose other than to inflate the track numbers, but other than that, each song is pretty fully formed.

The primary issue comes from a lack of consistency. It's not so much that Fetal Syndrome is suffering from Opethitis (that mythical disease where no two parts, no matter how great individually, can flow together in a logical manner), but more that the band seems a bit too dedicated to showing every side on every song. Case in point: the vocals. Each of Roberto Espinell's vocal styles are good (the hardcore vocals seem a bit iffy, but I think it's due more to production than performance), but there's an insistence on using each on every song, causing the tracks to lose some of their cohesion. The same issue gets reflected in the separate movements in each song: it's not that the movements don't flow together well, it's more that there's no reason to struggle with them.

That being said, Fetal Syndrome can rip pretty well at times. Be it the 'The Time To Kill Is Now' tribute in the pinch harmonic-laden riffs on 'Dead Faith' or the subtle grooves on 'Social Interaction', there are enough portions to keep you interested on each song. Production is clear, if a bit too forward in the vocal department, but it does have the advantage of highlighting the surprisingly technical basswork of Christopher M. Carrigy. Long story short: 'My Perfect Child' is far from flawless, but it's not a bad EP to pick up as a preview of what's to come. Give it a look.