REVIEW: Dying Fetus – Make Them Beg for Death [2023]

Artist: Dying Fetus
Album: Make Them Beg for Death

As someone who primarily reviews artists in the metalcore and deathcore worlds, it isn’t very often I actually cover a band that is older than I am. Similarly, it isn’t terribly often I get the chance to write reviews for bands that serve as the bludgeoned, grisly face of modern brutal death metal—though I suppose that has less to do with the band’s age and more to do with their skill, aggression and influence. Dying Fetus is that band. Founded in 1991 and rising to prominence in the underground metal community throughout the early to mid nineties dominating in styles ranging from gritty grindcore to disemboweling, dissonant technical death metal (with a brutal kick), Dying Fetus are ubiquitous throughout fans of any extreme metal subtype, and after six years the band’s follow up to Wrong One to Fuck With, Make Them Beg for Death is upon us. A contemporary and comprehensive array of all things aggressive—from slams to breakdowns and gut-rending grooves and beyond—Make Them Beg for Death does…well, just that, taking the listener’s spirit and deftly bending it to Dying Fetus’ whim, giving 2023 one of the most mosh-friendly, bouncy and brutalizing metal experiences of the year so far in the process.
Before continuing, it’s worth admitting that I’m not a life-long (literally) Dying Fetus fanatic. Covering 2017’s Wrong One to Fuck With was my first in-depth foray into the band’s discography, and I remember being floored to learn that much of the band’s discography was spent as a three-piece. With that context, Make Them Beg for Death becomes even more impressive. Built on Trey Williams’ riveting percussion that roams from pulverizing blast beats to flashy, fast fills, songs like the blitzing “Throw Them in the Van” or the hyperaggressive “Unbridled Fury” bring devastation by the boatload. Williams’ drumming is punchy and quick, but isn’t afraid to take on a bouncy, dance-friendly candor (so long as that dancing is spin-kicking), where he works with guitarist John Gallagher and bassist John Beasley beautifully. “Feast of Ashes” sees the trio work in dynamic harmony, even if isn’t necessarily harmonious in the traditional sense of the word. Beasley’s beefy bass works dialectically with Gallagher’s fretwork, unleashing a salvo of frantic riffs and furious slams on the listener—all while Williams’ drumming rips away like a coked up Energizer Bunny. The album’s closing two tracks, particularly “Hero’s Grave” sees the band’s technical side infused with a light dusting of melancholy—which is about the closest thing to a break the listener gets from neck-snapping, mind-melting heaviness (which, by the way, is still present in copious amounts throughout the aforementioned track).
Make Them Beg for Death doesn’t hold back in the slightest, whether its technical prowess, oppressive aggression, masterful production or raw, savage vocals, every component of Dying Fetus’ dynamic is honed with the sole mission of smothering the listener beneath layer after layer of raunchy, ruthless death metal. Gallagher’s vocals, just like the remainder of Make Them Beg for Death, refuses to compromise in any way. “When the Trend Ends” and “Throw Them in the Van” are as catchy as they are pulverizing, where “Undulating Carnage” focuses on toggling between portions of instrumental devastation interspersed with raw, blistering vocal passages—as is the norm for many Dying Fetus cuts. Gallagher doesn’t employ gimmicky vocal techniques nor does he buy into overproduction or post-production magic—instead, his voice brings the same primitive, grating and harsh bite on record that it bears live, giving the more technical elements of the band’s instrumentation a hefty, poignant counterbalance. This juxtaposition gives Dying Fetus depth where it might not exist otherwise, giving them a layer beyond the superficial—but supremely relevant—view of vicious, skull-crushing, bone-snapping brutality, of which they are the unchallenged masters.
On Make Them Beg for Death, Dying Fetus are unequivocally Dying Fetus. This record is everything the band has spent the last decade being known for and then some, taking elements from Wrong One to Fuck With and Reign Supreme and building them up, fleshing them out and practically perfecting them. For fans of Dying Fetus, this stands to become the definitive Dying Fetus record—and for new sets of ears, there’s never been a better time to dive in.

For Fans Of: Waking the Cadaver, Exhumed, Devourment
Connor Welsh