Review: Dying Fetus: Reign Supreme in it’s entirety

By M

Ok so the new album by revered US death metal legends, Dying Fetus, entitled Reign Supreme; what can I say about this album that isn’t summing it up in one word?

It will be hard but I’ll give it a crack. Firstly it is superior to the bands last album entitled Descend Into Depravity. Why? Because the compositional structure of this album exceeds the last.

There are some very technical elements in this album which help the listener engage in the more tricky parts to death metal.

For instance, John Gallagher (guitar and vocals) has brilliantly put tempo changes in the middle of bridges between sections of the song rather than ending one section with the tempo change on the last beat.

This helps the listener follow the ramping up of time changes into faster or slower sections – an excellent move if ever there was one.

Now onto the individual tracks, there are nine of them so I’ll try and keep to the point. Invert The Idols, is a swift, two minutes and five seconds and is undoubtedly, one of the best album openers I have heard in a while.

No messing about; just straight up brutality. Mixed with well executed time changes and blistering footwork from drummer, Trey Williams.

Although this is only his second release with the band, he is doing some breakthrough stuff on this record so aspiring drummers take note!

Subject To A Beating, as some people will know was their first released track from this album, check it out below:

An absolutely brilliant track by any standard. Great riffs and really good vocal patterns by Gallagher and Sean Beasley. An all round extremely groovy song – definitely one for the pitters.

Second Skin is one for the guitar fans. Some of the rhythms displayed in this song are definitely up on the technical side of Dying Fetus’s ability scale. They display complex signatures and tempos without losing groove or pace.

From Womb To Waste is track number 4, not only does this song come with an absolutely, spine chilling, sampled intro, which, in my personal opinion, pretty much explains a lot of today’s views towards childbirth and the fact that some people would rather get wasted than care for a human life.

It compromises excellent guitar work as one expects, excellent drumming and fairly good vocal patterns. But I fear that this track isn’t particularly one of the strongest on the album. It doesn’t give the feeling of an album filler exactly but not one of my favourites by any means.

Now for my favourite track of the album, Dissidence. To all aspiring musicians in the death metal genre – this is how it’s done.

Absolutely brilliant from start to finish, excellent time changes, grooves, crushing heaviness and all round well composed. Clearly the strongest track by far!!

In The Trenches starts any way a good Dying Fetus track should. That signature sound of complex, down-stroking guitars and one-footed grooves. It goes on to blister your ear drums in the same vein.

For the bass players, Sean Beasley will impress no end with his seamless playing at 2:37. Devout Atrocity. It will impress even the most technical of players, purely because of the sheer speed and simplicity.

Revisionist Past starts a little like Van Halen’s Eruption. Now please don’t assume this will take you back to the days of spandex and wavy blonde hair, because this isn’t the case.

There is some exceptional guitar playing right at the beginning of this song which flows into the kick in perfectly.

Gallagher has really taken out the stops on this album, there is an exceptional solo on this track too, which doesn’t overplay.

Now we have the last track of the album, The Blood Of Power.

An interesting intro into the kick in for this particular song. When it kicks in though, it hits you square in the balls with a sledge hammer.

Another bunch of exceptional solos to take note of here. Pay attention guitarists, this is how you solo over a song.

It has to layer over the song and fit the music and accent it, which it does very well.

Now for the sum up, as it were. As I said before, it has more compositional diversity than the last album and supersedes it in many ways, although I do have my gripes.

Let’s get them out the way now. First off, although in a structural and compositional sense it’s better; musically it isn’t a step up from the previous album.

Now I’m not saying that this is essentially a bad thing, but at times you do get the vibe that these are just tracks that didn’t get on Descend Into Depravity because it would have been too long.

Now a lot of DF fans out there would love it for this fact and of course, some would not. It’s by far documented that humanity doesn’t like change.

So on one hand I think that DF have done well to limit this album from taking any side winds into the many subgenre’s of metal.

On the flipside, I feel that it could have had a little more of something that hasn’t been previously displayed on Descend Into Depravity.

The production has a much nicer feel than the previous album, it’s a little bit fatter and tighter. In addition, they have taked away some of the high end, that was evident on the last record.

Overall, the vocals, drumming, guitar, and bass playing are all of a ridiculously high standard.

I will close with this statement: it’s nice to hear a DM album with the rawness you used to get.

Yes it’s tighter than a drum, but it has that feel of an old school analogue recording, which helps it stand out from the crowd in a big way.

Also there isn’t a single second on this album where you think “they can’t physically play that”, which in today’s market is fucking rare! 8/10

M is Culture Bomb’s guest reviewer and very own expert in all things heavy and extreme!

Dying Fetus will be touring the UK later this year. Reign Supreme is out June 19, via Relapse Records.

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