Dying Fetus has an all-time, unimpeachable death metal classic in Destroy the Opposition. The band’s now patented (and Decibel HoF inducted) blend of brutal slamming mixed with near-toxic levels of hardcore groove never came together as well as it did when Kevin Talley took their drum sound to the next level. In the opinion of many (read: me), the band never did their thing as well as with this lineup. And, as with all things good, this lineup fell apart and the band subsequently released one of, if not their absolute, worst efforts in Stop At Nothing, and has been spotty at best since.
Cut to 2017, with the ‘Fet readying their latest, Wrong One to Fuck With, following a rather dulled and toothless outing in Reign Supreme five years ago. The band has definitely skewed into the tech realm since 2009’s Descend Into Depravity, and their “riff salad” formula has largely stayed intact. That’s likely the main issue with Wrong One– there are so many riffs jammed into each song that they sound less like complete pieces and more like grindcore compilations.
There are two fairly amazing cuts here that are the exception to the rule. “Weaken the Structure” is not only the best song on the album, but one of the best Dying Fetus songs, period. The cohesion between the guitar and the drums creates a flow throughout the track reminiscent of Reign in Blood-era Slayer in both tone and aggression. It’s easily among their most interesting works, and may prove to be a death metal classic. The title track also sets a perfect pace and doesn’t meander too far from its thesis riff, remaining both engaging and angry throughout its length.
It’s also dead-last in the running order on an album that would benefit from some serious editing. The vast majority of these tracks top the five-minute mark and rarely stay engaging, making getting all the way to the end an exhausting chore. The accepted amount of songs on a DF album is eight. This is the rule, and rules are there for a reason. Ten songs here is exactly two songs too many, especially when several of them end in several separate noodling sessions. “Reveling in the Abyss” clocks in at a way-too-long six and a half minutes when it isn’t terribly interesting beyond three or so.
Ultimately, this is a Dying Fetus album, so a lot of this is to be expected. However, this one feels like the band reached a bit too far and used every single idea they had rather than honing the good ones and jettisoning the parts that didn’t fit. It’s certainly not their worst — that’s a tossup between the two mentioned above — but it’s also not anywhere near their best.
This paragraph has nothing to do with the album, so if you want to tune out of my moralizing, now would be a good time to stop reading– What in the fuck were both Dying Fetus AND Relapse thinking packing a fucking KNIFE with this? My mind immediately went to some Elliot Rodger-type gutting his ex-girlfriend on Facebook Live and saying “guess I was the wrong one to fuck with” into the camera. That is not something I’m saying for laughs– this genre is attractive to somewhat unstable folks by nature, and brutal DM even more so. I understand it’s not any band OR label’s job to police the activities of the consumer, but providing them with both the mantra AND the tools to be incredibly ignorant and then dropping the “do what thou wilt” is at best irresponsible in this day and age. Y’all really have to do better than this.