Maryland’s Dying Fetus are resilient stalwarts still kicking out their grotesque and brutal technical slam death jams. Forming way back in 1991, I still fondly remember getting my arse kicked by their seminal 2000 classic Destroy the Opposition, a dizzying mix of hardcore influenced brutal death and technical slam with granite busting grooves and the hideous guttural burps of band leader John Gallagher. Underneath it all however, was an intelligence, both within the compositions and the fierce political context of the band’s then newfound lyrical direction. Of course topping the aforementioned Destroy the Opposition and preceding powerhouse Killing on Adrenaline was never going to be easy. When the band splintered, Gallagher was left with the unenviable task of picking up the pieces for 2003’s solid but underwhelming Stop at Nothing. Despite the myriad of line-up changes and a couple of sub-par albums, Dying Fetus have kept on trucking, paring themselves down to a lean and destructive trio and bouncing back to top form with 2012’s Reign Supreme. Now, some five years in the making they return with their eighth full-length release. So how does Wrong One to Fuck With stack up in the Fetus canon?

Beginning with typically frenetic guitar pyrotechnics and bruising drum work, “Fixated on Devastation” is the sound of classic Dying Fetus, sticking to their guns with a signature formula they’ve hardly tweaked throughout their lengthy career. And look, I’m cool with that. Their highly influential sound has broken boundaries in the past, so expecting a new Dying Fetus album to break the mold and offer drastic reinvention is frankly an unrealistic expectation. Writing songs that sound fresh and are worth a damn is the bigger challenge these veterans face. Thankfully, Gallagher has his long-term band firing on all cylinders and executing with trademark energy, finesse and technical precision, sounding as tight and motivated as ever. Everything sounds over-the-top in typical Dying Fetus style, while remaining song-based and heaps of fun to listen to. Arthritis inducing fret-board lunacy, hyperactive drumming, brutal dual vocals and tempo changes galore feature prominently, with those fat, juicy grooves and breakdowns keeping your body in a constant state of motion.

Striking a swift balance of brutality, groove, technicality and hooky songwriting, Dying Fetus again prove that age cannot weary them. “Die with Integrity” features a chunky opening refrain and classic Fetus riffing before exploding into a thrashy fireball of frantic speed, precision musicianship and slick tempo changes that are impeccably executed. Wrong One to Fuck With is loaded with killer songs that are classic Fetus in feel, yet sound as fresh and invigorating as anything they’ve released post-Destroy. Surprises are kept to the bare minimum, though Wrong One to Fuck With has a darker tone and more vicious edge compared to recent releases, exemplified on the snarling brutality of “Weaken the Structure,” and violently thrashy lurch of “Seething with Disdain.” However, those trademark head-caving grooves are never far away in the midst of the band’s chaotic and speedy tirades. A few self-editing issues aside, and the fact the dual vocal attack has never been as strong as the Netherton/Gallagher combo, the album delivers what I crave from modern Dying Fetus.

Impeccable musicianship is the Dying Fetus standard and the stability of their line-up has helped bring the best out of Gallagher and his reliable cohorts, bassist/upper range growler Sean Beasley, and the formidable Trey Williams. The latter absolutely slays on the kit with a highly energized, technical performance full of personality and creative flair. Gallagher remains the glue that holds the Fetus together, his distinctive and technical playing style perfectly welds dexterous leads, dizzying sweeps and infectiously brutal riffs into cohesive but constantly shifting structures that are never dull or one-dimensional. Production is pretty much par for the course for a modern Dying Fetus album, sounding robust and chunky whilst maintaining enough clarity and definition to pick out the ample complexities and subtle nuances.

Dying Fetus is back with a vengeance and seriously pissed-off chip on their shoulders, riding a second wind of creativity with their patented brand of techy slam death goodness. While it’s doubtful they will ever match the greatness of Destroy the Opposition, it’s nice hearing this legendary act punching out great material again. Disappointed with the recent Suffocation album? Well Wrong One to Fuck With has you covered and Fetus fanatics should be primed to blast and brawl with this latest slab of top shelf brutality.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Relapse Records
Releases Worldwide: June 23rd, 2017

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  • Sean Sky

    I used to play Killing On Adrenaline all the time back in high school but never actually checked out their albums after that for whatever reason. Kinda surprised to see a 4.0 rated album out of them in 2017 but now I want to check it out.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      Man, you have some catching up to do. They’ve released some good shit since KOA.

  • anonbr666

    Oh god Yes

    My most anticipated record for 2017. I’ve heard all 3 singles so far and they all RULE, so I was sure this album would end up a beast.

  • Diego Molero

    I usually don’t particularly like this style because the vocals tend to be one-dimensional so it get’s boring after a while, so the fact that Dying Fetus have 2 singers makes it a lot more enjoyable for me.
    Like this a lot.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Reign Supreme was fucking brutal. Can’t wait to put my mitts on this one.

    • I got to see Dying Fetus at an intimate show up in my neck o the woods and Trey Williams referred to it as “Taco Supreme” with a look of disgust on his face. musicians really are their own worst critics!
      Dude was really cool, first drummer I’ve ever met who tuned his drums to “match” the tuning of the guitars.

  • KBien13

    I usually look to Misery Index when I’m needing this kind of fix but after seeing this score I’m excited to check this out.

    • Christopher Snyder

      This comment is funny because Misery Index was founded by members of Dying Fetus that quit. LOL

      • KBien13

        Yeah I’m aware of that. Just happen to like Misery Index’s flavor of it better.

  • Dead1

    Embedded track is great. Will need to check this one out!

  • Zach Ward

    Have heard about these dudes so much but not once have I ever listened to them. Should probably change that.

    • Killing on Adrenaline and Destroy the Opposition are classics. Give them a go and see if you get on with them. :)

      • Zach Ward

        Aye aye.. (Get it…. your picture is I. I’m hilarious)

  • Excentric_13073

    Saw these guys live a couple years ago, and they were incredible. What struck me was how even thought they’ve been around for some time now, the performance was vicious, without any trace of being phoned-in. They’re also really chill dudes, picking up on audience jokes (“KILL YOUR MOM RAPE YOUR DOG!) and generally just having a great time. They slayed it so hard at the show they were like, “Fuck it we’re playing another one!” and went over time by a couple minutes. Brutal.

    • I saw them with Gwar many years ago and thought they were completely disappointing. Wasn’t just me as I heard crickets chirping between songs. To each their own I guess.

      • Mark Z

        Too bad, maybe that was an off night for them. I’ve seen them 5 or 6 times and every time has been similar to what Excentric described, vicious, tight, and a whole lot of fun.

      • When they were the opener for GWAR, they had John Longstreth playing drums for them (I think he was drafted for a quick fill in role for that tour) and their whole set was off because of that. As someone who had seen DF play a bunch of times before that, they didn’t sound right with the hyperactive Longstreth back there. Also I think Sean Beasley had just started doing the “Netherton” vox role following their stand-alone singer’s exit. Fast forward a bunch of years and their current “power trio” lineup is tight as a drum and far superior to what they had going on then.

      • Excentric_13073

        Could also just be the occasional bad show/ crowd, venue etc. I’ve seen some artists shine on some nights and then have seen those same bands sort of fizzle other nights. The crowd was completely unhinged when I saw them so I’m sure that made a difference.

  • IndignantN00b

    What’s body part is that upstanding member of society on the cover grasping in his right hand? Gore is less effective if I can’t tell what I’m supposed to be horrified at.

    I’ve always sorta enjoyed these guys but never really loved them the way I feel like I’m supposed to. I totally get that they’re godfathers of slam right alongside Devourment, and I always dig it while it’s playing, it just never hits that next level for me. I felt like Autopsychosis was essentially the album I’ve always wanted out of them. That said I’ve been listening to the new Acranius and Analepsy constantly since Jan and am desperate for some new slams so… gonna give this one a shot.

    • Drew Music

      I believe Mr. Wrong is holding either a face, a mask, or (most likely) the former being used as the latter.

      • IndignantN00b

        That seems reasonable. If you’ve gone to all that trouble, might as well use it as a mask.

        On first listen my reaction is the same as always. It’s fine but too many riffs/parts and not enough “oh shit!” moments. I liked the back half more, particularly “Ideological Subjugation,” and yeah it’s probably better than the new Suffo, but Reign of Terror slams this into the cement. Oh well, back to waiting for the Kraanalepsy split/Abominable Putridity’s new album.

        • Drew Music

          That split is gonna be brutal as fuck, no doubt. Otherwise, to each they own, yo. There are no wrong bands to get behind, other than Amaranthe and Five Finger Butt Punch.

  • Well, Dying Fetus, you just blew your chance at getting your cassette sold in Kmart stores by putting the F-word in the title. And I thought you were a family-friendly band!

  • AndySynn

    I have an awful lot of love for the title track. It’s dumber than a bag of hammers for the most part, but SO much fun.

  • Bryan Barkman

    I’ve been waiting for this one, very glad it got such a great review!

  • azerate

    I’m so glad this turned out so good. This is definitely stronger than their past 3 albums and usually I get quite fatigued after listening to death metal but I’ve kept this playing over and over. This just feels faster and more technical than the previous albums and they were very fast to begin with.

  • rumour

    “Gallagher remains the glue that holds the Fetus together.”
    Indeed. Wicked new riffage/carnage; stout review.

  • welyyt

    Since it’s good, I’m glad I can make the “Dying Fetus – not dead yet!” joke.

  • Mark Z

    Great review and totally agree, this could very well be their best since Destroy the Opposition.

  • Drew Music

    Well, add ‘making a Dying Fetus fan outta me’ to the list of Angry Metal Miracles I’ve been blessed with in this dark corner of the interwebz. I’d panned them for years, believing myself to be too much of a Refined Metal Guy for the likes of that name and based off of the DF fans I’d met, but this review forced me to at least check out the embedded and I can happily say I’ve been fucking my life up. Thanks y’all, I have seen the error of my ways!

    • Ivan E. Rection

      Drew, you must remedy this immediately. Go to the back catalogue and breathe in the stench deeply. Search out the tune Epidemic Of Hate right now and soak it in. I swear that is the best opening 60 seconds of any death metal song ever. Love the drumming, and vocals straight from the anus.

      • Drew Music

        Had I not already been mired in the gloriously pungent reek of rectification, one whiff of this mini recommendation probably would have warranted an exploratory audio sniff. Well intended and well put, I’m already well on my way down the well of sonic septic splendor but I did enjoy reading that so, well, thanks!

    • Reese Burns

      No one’s too refined for Dying Fetus! Hop on Destroy the Opposition immediately!

      • Drew Music

        My musical queue is so fucked right now… Looking at a rotating playlist of these guys, Blaze of Sorrow, Destroyer of Light, Ire Wolves, ANCST, Drudkh and the friggen Goo Goo Dolls (balance, yo.) I’m not really sure how anyone can expect me to function with such a schizophrenic soundtrack, but the struggle continues.

        • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

          If you like Drudkh, check out the debut album from Windswept (project by Roman Sayenko from Drudkh). It was released in March. Good shit!!

          • Reese Burns

            And Astrofae! Another Drudkh spinoff band, I think they’ve released three albums on Tour de Garde, but there could be more that I’ve missed.

          • Matt Vogt

            Ooh, I hadn’t heard of that – *trips over self in rush to investigate*

            Also, check out ‘Rattenfanger’, which is Drudkh doing death metal. I love their one album (to date, at least)!

          • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

            I’ve owned the Rattenfanger cd since it was released years ago. It’s great!

        • Reese Burns

          Prioritize Drudkh! Those guys are absolute legends.

          • Drew Music

            Oh they’re not new to me, man, they’re just currently in heavy rotation on 66.6 WDRW (I amuse myself, anyway.) Out of all I’d listed, Dying Fetus and ANCST are the only ones new to me. Ire Wolves too, I suppose, though I got myself familiarized with that absolute gem of an album real quick-like. You are correct, though, those guys are legends, I eye their split with Hades Almighty at least twice a week on Bandcamp. One of these days…

    • JeremyZero

      Metal is a lot more fun when you stop being pretentious about it.

      • Drew Music

        Eh, that can be said of anything, and I don’t feel like I was being pretentious by avoiding something affiliated with imagery and a few specific fans whom I don’t particularly care for. I’m pretty content realizing I’ve been wrong to avoid DF, they’ve got quite the catalog that I now get to dig through and get immersed in properly, it’s like a(nother) mini metal Christmas for me.

      • [not a Dr]

        On the other hand, being pretentious is a lot less fun if you stop being metal about it.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    I re-listened to their entire discography over the last couple
    of weeks in anticipation of the new album. A few things struck me… 1)
    They’ve never made anything close to a bad album; not even a mediocre one in my opinion. Just different levels of good, great, and all the way up to all-time classic. 2) “Stop and Nothing” and “Descend Into Depravity” are WAY better than I remembered them being. 3) “Reign Supreme” isn’t quite as good as I had remembered. Now, I definitely did enjoy it. Solid album. Just not quite as “oh my fucking God this album is goddamn unbelievable” as some of their other albums. Again, I enjoyed every single album, but I would probably rank them in the following order if I had to:

    Killing On Adrenaline
    Destroy the Opposition
    Descend Into Depravity
    Stop at Nothing
    Reign Supreme
    Infatuation With Malevolence
    Grotesque Impalement E.P.
    War Of Attrition
    Purification Through Violence
    History Repeats E.P.

    Ok…so I just listened to the new album 2 times in a row.…FUCK!!! It’s as good as could possibly be expected from a band this deep into their career. It is AMAZING!!!!! It may not be their absolute BEST, but it’s pretty goddamn close. Right now I would put it only behind “Killing On Adrenaline” and “Destroy the Opposition”, but it may leapfrog even those after a few more listens. It’s THAT GOOD! Album of the year, hands down.

    • Reese Burns

      Dying Fetus don’t even know what the word “mediocre” means. They’re one of the most consistently amazing bands not only in death metal, but metal in general.

      • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

        Couldn’t agree more. Their entire discography is a treasure to behold.

  • herrschobel

    damn juvenile Title .. i wouldn´t wear that shirt in public :-) … i don´t quite get this anyhow….people constantly bash MR Barnes for being one dimensional and boring in his vocal delivery and this is supposed to be good ? the vocals are killing this for me… i have a barking dog at home…no thank you !

  • Reese Burns

    Great review, but I’d have gone half a point higher. Dying Fetus are gonna be ducking it out with Immolation for death metal record of the year. This album is so god. Damn. Great. Riff after riff of pure brutality and technical prowess. I can’t get enough of it.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      I agree that a 4.5 (or maybe even a 5) is more than warranted, but either way that’s fine. I was seriously fuckin’ giddy when I listened to it both times. Smiling, laughing, etc because the groove was just so intoxicating.
      Also, I know the new Immolation is getting massive amounts of love from everything I’ve read, but I listened to it a couple times and thought it was ok but didn’t blow me away. Now to be honest, I didn’t get into Immolation until “Majesty and Decay” came out, so that one is the one I always reach for if I want to hear something from that band.

      • Reese Burns

        Yeah, I was a little worried about this one, since it was one of my most hyped albums this year, and I wanted so bad for it to be good. And thankfully it’s better than I had even hoped. But about Immolation, the thing that gets me about their latest are the subtle influences by bands like Portal and Ulcerate. It’s got a sort of “not quite right” feel to it, not a very aggressive album, but a cool listen.

  • Alexandre Barata

    After some disappointing (in my opinion) albums from the Death Metal “classic” bands (Immolation, Suffocation and Sinister) this “classic” year can still be saved with Dying Fetus, Broken Hope and Incantation, I hope!

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      I totally agree about your Immolation opinion. I just can’t see why people are raving about it. To each their own though.

  • ben

    Album rips, great review. One thing that I find incredibly impressive, and rarely discussed, is John and Sean’s ability to play these incredibly technical riffs whilst delivering some of the most brutally demonic vocals metal has to offer. True talents.

  • lib1

    Saw Fetus twice. Once in 2006 and again in 2007, both times the group destroyed it. Precise, grooving and relentless.

  • Bill

    I’ve been a fetus fan since 98. Saw them about 10 times. I miss the way they used to groove, you could almost dance to it. I respect the amount of talent in their last 4 albums but talent doesn’t necessarily make it sound good. This album is very technical but not very brutal. Out of 100’s of the musical and riff transitions only 2 or 3 are smooth/nice. It almost sounds like the track skips when they change up the bar.

    Sorry guys this is far from the fetus I love.

    Gorgasm, Malevolent creation, Death are some of my go toos

  • Name’s Dalton

    Ok this rules. Hard.

  • kmal666

    I cant help being disappointed with this album – it doesnt have all the badass riffs of Reign Supreme.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      Couldn’t disagree more. It smokes Reign Supreme.

  • DeadHead

    I just listened to this album yesterday. God damn is it good! So much better than the last few albums put out.