DYING FETUS established a reputation for uncompromising integrity with a slew of classic albums and today rides a resurgence of respect and esteem with a new generation. As Revolver Magazine wrote upon the release of their first new material since 2017’s Wrong One To Fuck With: “Their unique sound has always straddled the line between extreme metal instrumentation and heavy hardcore chugginess, and right now, they’re extremely well-regarded by many of today’s heavy-hitting hardcore acts, as well as their fair share of death metal and deathcore up-and-comers.”
Recorded in Baltimore with longtime producer Steve Wright (Future Islands) and mixed by Mark Lewis (Cannibal Corpse), Make Them Beg For Death contains every Dying Fetus hallmark. The veteran death metal band’s ninth album is fast, intense, and brimming with unstoppable grooves.
Monstrous riffs, blast beats, unstoppable hooks, and earth-moving grooves define their catalog. The Black Dahlia Murder, Suicide Silence, and Whitechapel co-headlined tours with Dying Fetus in recent years, a testament to the veteran band’s continued relevance and respect in the genre.
Decibel Magazine inducted the band’s zeitgeist third album, Destroy the Opposition (2000), into their prestigious Hall Of Fame, next to genre-defining classics from the likes of Metallica and Slayer. Metal Injection hailed Wrong One to Fuck With as a “menacing motherfucker.” The band continually refines its unique take on death, grind, and hardcore with a combination of virtuosity and ferocity, inescapably catchy hooks and punishing breakdowns, and a lack of pretension.
“We put our own twist on death metal,” explains co-vocalist/guitarist John Gallagher, who co-founded the group in 1991. “We were like most bands, starting in the garage, drinking beer, having a little fun on the weekend, finding the right amps through trial and error. We blended aspects of bands we liked – Suffocation, Obituary, Deicide, and Cannibal Corpse, among others; the dual vocal approach of Carcass – and made them our own. ‘Let’s make it moshy, let’s make it slammy.’”
Surprisingly, the band took a few cues from early Agnostic Front and Madball and even a bit of Rage Against The Machine, whose debut album arrived in 1992. “I wanted to take some of that groove and put it into death metal,” Gallagher says. Internal Bleeding, arguably the first band to do “all slam, all the time,” was another influence; their native New York was just a few hours away from the Dying Fetus home base in Maryland. “That whole New York scene really inspired us. It was a big part of our development, as all of our bands were continually influenced by each other.”
Eschewing leather and spikes in favor of t-shirts, and shorts, the “street level” look of Dying Fetus ruffled some feathers in elitist metal circles but helped the music crossover to other scenes. That no-frills approach is the norm today; some death metal bands even sell branded basketball shorts.
Early demos and a pair of albums on smaller labels led to the landmark release of Destroy the Opposition. The high-speed Stop At Nothing (2003) introduced bassist Sean Beasley, who began sharing vocal duties with Gallagher on the excessively brutal War of Attrition (2007).
Drummer Trey Williams rounded out the modern, definitive Dying Fetus lineup beginning with the tech-metal masterpiece, Descend into Depravity (2009). “Outstanding technical bands like Necrophagist were out at that time,” Beasley remembers. “I wrote songs with like 25 riffs in them.”
While no less technically proficient, Reign Supreme (2012) pushed the band’s groovier side back to the forefront. (“Second Skin” even appeared in an episode of South Park.) Five years later, “Dying Fetus hit the mark again” (Exclaim!) with the ruthless and crushing Wrong One To Fuck With.
Hatebreed, As I Lay Dying, Knocked Loose, GWAR, Morbid Angel, and Six Feet Under are just a few bands who’ve taken Dying Fetus on tour over the years. In 2014, the fan-driven and tongue-in-cheek “What About Dying Fetus?” hashtag campaign earned them a mainstage spot at the UK’s Download Festival, playing before the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Fall Out Boy, and Linkin Park.
Make Them Beg For Death, set for release in 2023, delivers savage beatdowns equally designed to pulverize and mesmerize. “It follows on from where Wrong One To Fuck With left off,” Williams promises. “We don’t need to participate in the technical death metal arms race. We’ve got the big guns, and we’ve proven that. It’s all about pointing them in the right direction, so to speak.”
To the men of Dying Fetus, the mission is straightforward. “The philosophy is the same now as it was when the band started,” Gallagher confirms. “To write catchy riffs and to make it memorable. Whatever style of music you’re doing, make it something people want to hear repeatedly.”