Fit for an Autopsy rolled through my friendly neighborhood metal venue sometime in — it must have been November with Lorna Shore, and since it was a Tuesday night in Chicago in November, the place was less than packed. I had shit to do, so I showed up to see Lorna Shore and decided to head out before Fit for an Autopsy took the stage. I’d listened to Absolute Hope, Absolute Hell, when it came out a few years back, and though I definitely liked it, the album was a bit too unfocused to stick around in my rotation. I figured the band wasn’t going to play anything I really enjoyed. I fucked up.
Much like Wretched, Fit for an Autopsy are a band whose first three albums fell a bit short for me. All of the components were there, good songs, well-utilized breakdowns, but the potential the band had never felt realized, and what could have been great albums seemed merely good. Well, The Great Collapse is this band’s Cannibal, an album that’s finally firing on all cylinders and indicative of a band that’s realized themselves. If only I had stuck around back in November, I would have known this already. If the band had any sense then, I imagine they would have opened with The Great Collapse‘s first cut, “Hydra,” a song so pit-ready you actually know the call and response before ever hearing it. Don’t believe me? After an atmospheric, drum-led chorus that roars of societal decay, the band poses to you a question; what happens when you cut off the head of the Hydra?
FUCKING. TWO. GROW. BACK.
Here’s how you respond to “Hydra:” Find an object. Break it. Repeat. You will know this chorus after a single spin, and you’ll go right back and repeat the song two or three times before you even think about listening to “Heads Will Hang,” shattered furniture surrounding you. When you do move on, you won’t be disappointed. “Heads Will Hang” and “Black Mammoth” are just as memorable, fantastic songs that showcase the band’s diversity while completely avoiding any hint of self-indulgence. “Black Mammoth” rears up with a Gojira-meets-Katalepsy groove that cruises across rapid tom beats that are just exquisitely performed.
This is a deathcore album1, and a breakdown is never far off, but Fit for an Autopsy have never just strung the things together and called it heavy. “Iron Moon” rockets through some Job for a Cowboy-esque tech death before it gets to the big breakdown, and the riffing across the whole song is worth far more than any half-time chug section it could pull out. Every part of The Great Collapse falls into place naturally, and the album never feels overwrought or poorly-thought-out. Even “When the Bulbs Burn Out,” the album’s arguable centerpiece, which deals with overpopulation, climate change, and environmental doom — even opening with a sample from Before the Flood — handles its themes with intelligence and matches lyrical intensity with sonic mastery.
The Great Collapse is not just a great deathcore album; it is the deathcore album for people who find deathcore stale and simplistic. It’s out to prove that Fit for an Autopsy are a headliner not to miss. It’s progressive, heavy, catchy, and at times even beautiful; “Empty Still” is emotionally raw and fragile even past its harmonic-laden introduction. The songwriting is phenomenal, the vocal delivery completely on point, and the drumming is fantastic. This album feels like every best moment of the late aughts progressive deathcore movement crunched together and stripped of pretense and noodly solos. If Dodecahedron is too terrifying for you, if Replacire is too weird, Vangough and Without Waves too prog, don’t worry. March 17th still has a truly killer album for you to get wrecked by.