Dying Fetus: History Repeats

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Dying Fetus: History Repeats
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Dying Fetus: History Repeats
Death Metal
Relapse Records (2011)
July 19th, 2011
Release length: 22:33
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It’s been two years since Dying Fetus unleashed Descend Into Depravity on the Metal masses. With the band now down to a three piece, a lot of people were skeptical about the success of the last album, which went on to earn some of the better reviews the band has had since Destroy the Opposition. While the band has had a few years now to write new material for a follow-up effort, instead of issuing a new studio full-length, Dying Fetus gives us a new EP, the first since 2000’s infamous Grotesque Impalement. While this seven track EP clocks in with Descent into Depravity style Death Metal and Grindcore, one can’t help but wonder if it will be as good as their previous EP.

While History Repeats… is not exactly as off-the-wall as their previous EP, it does lead to some solid and heavy Death Metal laced with blast beats and accompanying breakdowns. The production quality of the release sounds great through a modern digital recording sense, retaining enough bite to the clearer music being recorded. The guitars sound great and muddied enough in the production and through the distortion, and the drums sound fantastic, coming in crisp and clear. The bass, while present, just doesn’t feel that strong, and the overall product feels lacking the extra kick of the bass guitar to make it really hammer away at the listener like it should, feeling a little higher in pitch. The first bass note played on “Fade into Obscurity” is enough to rattle the foundation of where you are, but after that, even with that instrument’s output levels cranked, it just seems a little lost and sounds more twangy at times then presenting the deep, rich sound to accomodate the guitars and make the recording crushing. Of course, the vocals arer just like they were for Descent into Depravity, gravitating between gutturals and pig squeels with a decent range.

The main focus of History Repeats…, aside being an EP of nothing but covers, is actually the band’s Grindcore sound. While a lot of guttural performances and some groove laced Death Metal does appear, it’s not the main interest of the group. “Fade into Obscurity” actually winds up being one of the main Death Metal tracks, and actually sets up the album to be a mixture of both styles with a dominant Death presence. However, while this track feels as ruthless and punishing as it can be, the album immediately shifts to a more Grindcore sound with constant blast beats. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the songs are enjoyable for what they are, and the mixing of gutturals with it adds to the impact. These tracks also sound rather unique for the band too, and not a carbon copy blueprint to rip off pioneer acts like many bands today are known for, and they don’t just focus all the time on being blast fests from start to finish with little in the line of unique material that distinguishes one track from another. However, sometimes, like with “Gorehound”, the vocals will be strongly fixated on being pig squeels, which quickly becomes overused and begin to rub you the wrong way after a short while.

Like usual, it’s the heavier Death Metal tracks that really seem to stand out, though the aforementioned Grindcore songs are nothing to scoff at either considering the source material of Napalm Death and Broken Hope. “Fade into Obscurity” is a strong track that pretty much leaves the listener feeling lifeless and at the band’s beckoning, while “Unleashed Upon Mankind” is a soul crushing track with a catchy groove and a very intense breakdown that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the song, as well as maintains that overall heavy spirit breaking sound. This becomes the flow of the EP until the very end with the slower paced trudging and blast beat fused “Born in a Casket” which, like the other cover tracks on here, is very well done, but this one moreso as it treads into familiar territory for Dying Fetus more then some of the other tracks on here aside “Unchallenged Hate”. The only original track here is “Rohypnel”, which one would expect to be the crazier out-of-nowhere track like Grotesque Impalement had, and it could be, but without lyrics it’s hard to tell if it’s meant to be over-the-top lyrically, though musically it certainly feels that way with it’s slower groove pace then sudden blast beat assault with discernable lyrics about the date rape drug this track is named after.

Overall, History Repeats… obviously isn’t an original release, outside one track of course, but for a cover EP it’s a damn good one. All the songs on here are great, though “Gorehog” pushes the pig squeels a bit too far. Other then that and the lack of a deep, rich sound to accompany these heavy classics, this makes for a good brief history lesson on the band’s larger influences. Each track is treated with care, but also often given that Dying Fetus signature sound touch to make them feel more unique in a way that retains the glory of the originals without destroying the song all together like some bands that take a song and put their twist on it and completely ruin it forever (I’m looking at you, Six Feet Under). It’s a satisfying companion release for the fans, and just a generally entertaining EP for casual fans of Death Metal or Grindcore.

01. Fade Into Obscurity (Dehumanized cover) – 4:31
02. Unchallenged Hate (Napalm Death cover) – 2:12
03. Gorehog (Broken Hope cover) – 2:03
04. Rohypnol – 0:44
05. Unleashed Upon Mankind (Bold Thrower cover) – 5:27
06. Twisted Truth (Pestilence cover) – 4:13
07. Born in a Casket Cannibal Corpse cover) – 3:22
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.