Artist: Feto in Fetus
Album: Condemned to the Torture
Everyone’s heard the saying “upon pain of death.” Maybe it was something you idly promised to your best friend in a tree house when you were kids—“I swear John, I won’t say a word. Upon pain of death!” Or maybe it was more serious—a vow solemnly sworn to take a secret to the deepest of graves. No matter how you’ve used it, be honest with yourself, have you ever really thought about what that pain might be? If you haven’t, I can’t say I blame you: it’s a gruesome and unpleasant topic. However, Feto in Fetus explore it in great detail with their latest release, Condemned to the Torture. These slamming, hard-hitting Polish juggernauts use lacerating riffs to tear flesh from bone and pummeling percussion to turn bone to dust, creating an experience which will drown the listener in agony, making them suffer until their very last breath.
It’s easy to look at Condemned to the Torture’s length and the short track lengths and write Feto in Fetus off as “just another grindcore” act—but this simply isn’t the truth. Condemned to the Torture is a crushing, dynamic combination of slamming, skin-ripping grind and heavy, brooding deathcore which soars above the efforts of its peers for several reasons—one of these being the stunning fretwork. “Death and Rebirth” takes a break from errant, grind-esque shredding and noodling to attack the listener with a grimy, guttural groove that completely catches the listener off-guard. Likewise, the outro track is an ambient, ethereal composition that laces serene fretwork with samples and pulsing, ebbing percussion to create an immersive, dream-like experience. In between either extreme, Feto in Fetus attack the listener with an entire arsenal of gut wrenching, city leveling riffs which cover razor-sharp and shredding (“Countless Victims,” for example) and brooding dissonance (“Source of Evil” ties this together with rampant grooves perfectly). The limitless amount of frantic, yet intriguing fretwork keeps this album far from being “just another –core” release.
Beneath the layers of lacerating licks and furiously-fretted riffs, however, there is something else—something violent and looming. While the guitar tears sinister, gaping lesions in the listener’s skin and sanity, the percussion incessantly hammers away, wearing once-strong bone into nothing but dust. The drumming throughout Condemned to the Torture is nothing short of exceptional, and serves as the album’s backbone—a backbone sturdier than that of Atlas himself. “Countless Victims” and “Source of Evil” are perhaps the two best examples of Feto in Fetus’ percussive brilliance, with a wide array of catchy, meaty beats, drop-of-a-dime signature changes and speedy fills, the drums are always at the perfect pace to keep the album flowing along smoothly—a pace which is determined by the erratic guitars and the riffs they provide. For another stunning example of this instrumental syncope, we can turn again to the outro track. The guitar provides a whispy, intangible background while the drums broodingly pound away, giving the listener a sturdy, steady beat to lull them into complacency. True enough—the percussion and the guitar alike give rise to two stunning examples of how Feto in Fetus far surpass the likes of their piers, it is how these elements work together to serve as a backdrop for the visceral, intense vocals which makes Condemned to the Torture a true masterpiece.
Above all the din of the drums and the phenomenal fret work, there are the vocals—the “make or break” element to any –core band. Where Feto in Fetus could have easily resigned themselves to castigation, or mediocrity, they instead rose above with one of the most varied vocal performances since Infant Annihilator’s The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution. There isn’t one track which showcases the vocals exceptionally well—rather, almost every song hits the entire range of extreme vocal styles one would expect to see on a deathcore release. Screeching, out-of-sight screams, unintelligible brees and gutturals and of course, a bitter, mid-range yell. All of these vocal styles paint a picture of pain and disgust overtop a wonderfully intricate instrumental canvas which provides one cohesive image for the listener: pain until their last breath.
“I don’t need to worry,” you think to yourself, “death is a long way off.” Well, with Feto in Fetus’ full length, Condemned to the Torture, death might be a mere 45 minutes away. Indeed, Condemned to the Torture is a violent, misanthropic lesson in death—and every ounce of pain that could potentially come with it.
For Fans Of: Thy Devourer, Infant Annihilator, Tower of Rome, Sentenced to Dissection
By: Connor Welsh