Review Summary: The future is bright.
Progressive is a limiting phrase. Well, that is, at least within metal spheres, it can be. This comes with a tincture of irony, because it is the preconceived notions that are stirred about with such labels that completely defeat such a label's purpose. What is it about the fascination with labels, anyway? What is it about attaching "xyz band-isms" at the end of every newfound release that is so utterly misused and overused? Why is Fit For An Autopsy Gojira-core now? Why does Gengar have levitate in spite of two clear albeit stubby ghastly legs? I will answer all of this and more in my upcoming stated matter-of-facts (the first among them being that: this album is the best deathcore (?) release ever).
OK, so Oh What the Future Holds
being Gojira-core is something of a drastic overstatement, but I think it illustrates just how fast people (myself included) grab for familiarity to explain something, especially something as gripping and elusive as a beautiful sound (beautiful in this context being guttural, meaty, crushing, etc.). I think what this album does is something far more expansive than a single, admittedly flattering
comparison. Not one unwarranted by any stretch-tracks such as "Far From Heaven" could be placed alongside the best of L'Enfant Sauvage
, thanks in part to low-end smooth arpeggios and what ~appear~ to be something akin to vocoder vocals being the mainframe of the track. This is also present in an even crunchier form on "A Higher Level of Hate", although one could argue that darker and more oppressive chaotic overtone brings it closer to Meshuggah territory, however that is a splitting of hairs that would destroy my few remaining neurons, of which are desperately racing throughout my body like a Mario kart racetrack to the speed-demon riff savagery of the aptly titled "Savages".
If ever one had forgotten that Fit For An Autopsy are, beneath the ever-evolving intricacies of each record, a deathcore band, then this track is the ultimate hammer to the gosh darn knees that will make your heart elate and your grandmother seize up in her wheelchair. There are riffs and blast beats that race at speeds incomprehensible to the meager human brain. There are chugs that could liquefy your organs and turn bones into brownie brittle. There are vocals that shred the skin like an infuriated lion. Now, this is not to say this is a hidden moment of recovered fury, for it is among a multitude of tracks that fit into this somewhat more traditional spectrum (Conditional Healing, In Shadows), however it is certainly among the much more immediately punishing (even if the golden gurgle of "swellREEE with agony" off of the aforementioned "In Shadows" is totally freakin' fierce).
On the topic of vocals, there is something incredibly gratifying in hearing truly fantastic clean singing within a soundscape often maligned for their shoehorned inclusion. It's a brief note, but I'd be damned not to mention just how well the tranquil and subdued beginnings of "The Man That I Was Not" juxtapose with the gargantuan screams and gutturals that aid in the momentous catharsis of this track. This, in spite of being something small, brings me back to the concept of "progressive". FFAA aren't chasing grandiose higher concepts, but what they are doing is a subtle and masterful refinement upon their own sound. By focusing on the forlorn and even misanthropic atmosphere of prior releases (i.e, The Sea of Tragic Beasts) and funneling it into something both dynamic, groovy, and distinctly goddamn heavy
, they've managed to make something that stirs excitement for a luminous future. Oh, what the future holds...