Review: Fit For An Autopsy Feel The Deathcore Weight on ‘Hellbound’
Deathcore bands continue to pour out of the musical spout like so many drops of heavy water. Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, Whitechapel, Born Of Osiris, the names mount up and the albums keep coming. Their recipe is simple. Turn the treble all the way up, kill the bottom end, synchronize guitars, get a guy to growl, and then bake on riffage landing somewhere between thrash and death metal. Deathcore is a thriving musical genre.
The latest band awash in black t-shirts and disillusionment is Fit For An Autopsy. After dropping The Process Of Human Extermination to a lukewarm reception, Fit For an Autopsy return with Hellbound, and the album is giving me pause. While not nearly as vile and insulting as Metalcore (see Avenged Sevenfold), Deathcore does share one thing with that genre, and that’s the lack of originality. Fit For An Autopsy colors right in the lines of the Deathcore coloring book. Is it heavy? Sure it is. Are the technical aspects impressive? Damn straight. Is the record boring as all get out? Yep, pretty much across the board.
First on the checklist, the no bass issue. As in, there is no bass on this album. Why do bands who purport to live for heavy music, dissect the bottom end from what they do? Rattling bass and deep, crushing drums, are what make an album heavy. The rhythm section exists to hold up the guitars. Nope. You can hear zero bottom end on Hellbound, and the drums are so click-sounding they come off as triggers. I implore the Deathcore community to rethink their disdain for bass.
Next up. Guitars. Lots of fast, chugging riffs, lots of harmonized solos, and that’s it. The only decisions made on these tunes are where to slow the riff down, where to add the blast beat, and then how to smash them together. Opening track “The Great Gift Of The World” begins with a slow riff, and then heads into a fast one. “Still We Destroy” starts fast and then goes mid-tempo. “Thank You Budd Dwyer” gets through most of the song on full blast beat mode, but eventually the formula catches up and Fit For An Autopsy slow down. Song after song, the tunes just start bleeding into each other.
I will say this for the music. Technically it is extraordinary. Love the work or hate it, there is no denying the talent of musicianship here. Don’t get me wrong, strong musicianship doesn’t always mean strong songwriting. What Fit For An Autopsy does as a band is unimpressive, but their individual skills are something to be praised. Drummer Joseen Orta is a machine, a man who plays as though he has an abundance of random arms. Will Putney and Patrick Sheridan are both monsters of guitar. They wield their instruments with great technical savvy and confidence. I’m sure bassist Shane Slade is amazing to. It’s too bad he can’t be heard on the album.
Vocally, Hellbound is all growls and screams that remain in their formula. With bands like Converge, Deadguy, Burning Love, or Eyehategod to name a few, the screams have an air of desperation, a type of humanity that allows them to be the emotional core for their music. Vocals like those on Hellbound are almost robotic. There is something so formulaic and repetitive about the phrasing that, as the album wears on, the vocals, like the songs, bleed into each other.
Hellbound is another album dictated to by the genre it’s trying to please. I don’t say that to be insulting, I say that because the fans that buy into this music have a certain set of expectations. They want these records to sound this way, and when they don’t, the ever present label “sellout” starts getting spoken in hushed tones. This is what the genre wants. This is what the genre expects, so Fit For An Autopsy, and Hellbound, becomes another footnote in a constant, and largely forgettable, line of genre-dictated music.