Artist: Fit For an Autopsy
Album: Oh What the Future Holds
I remember when I was younger, The Jetsons would still play on TV pretty frequently—especially on Nick At Nite and other more adult-geared stations abundant with nostalgia. Same with Back to the Future. At that time, the 2020s still felt far off—far enough off that their TechniColor renditions of the future with flying cards, teleportation devices and other gizmos felt like they might actually happen. Granted, technically The Jetsons took place in the 2060s, but you get my point. In hindsight, it’s wild to think of what people in the 60s and 70s thought the 2020’s would look like. Unless you’re watching a dystopian action/thriller film, the future always looked shiny, bright and glistening; a world without strife, war or want. In reality, we couldn’t have strayed farther from the prophecies of those animated, neon prophets. War is the norm, the class divide grows into a more gaping chasm on the daily basis, and the world is ravaged by plagues of all shapes, sizes and designs. If the future held promise, we have squandered it—and that message, above all others, rings true on the brand new release from contemporary deathcore act Fit For an Autopsy. On Oh What the Future Holds, Fit For an Autopsy use a Seussian album name to lure the listener into a release that speaks not with optimism, but with grim realism. Oh What the Future Holds is the logical, conceptual continuation of The Sea of Tragic Beasts, just as it is its instrumental match. A bold compendium of ravaging riffs, spine-shredding breakdowns and a double-dose of melody and ambiance, Oh, What the Future Holds is a strong release in its own right—but also one that asks a couple crucial questions of the band that made it.
Fit For an Autopsy have come a long way from songs like “The Jackal” and “Tremors.” The Sea of Tragic Beasts saw the group take a deeper turn away from Deathcore’s more extreme ends and towards a more balanced middle ground. That same trend continues on Oh What the Future Holds—if anything, with even more a turn away from the extremes. The record is built on jarring, immense fretwork, as listeners have come to expect from the act. Lead single “Far From Heaven” establishes that—but songs like “Collateral Damage” and “Savages” hammer it home. Elsewhere, “The Man That I Was Not” and “Two Tours” highlight the band’s focus on more ethereal songwriting, with hefty splashes of post-metal and melodic death metal to counterbalance the more scathingly riff-heavy faster cuts on the release. Here, airy guitar with haunting, looming leads are tied to explosive percussion by a thick, luscious bass tone that snaps and winds between the two, with everything coming together like a well-oiled machine. When it comes to the heavier songs, though, its as though the aforementioned well-oiled machine is built for a singular purpose: to flatten the listener. “Collateral Damage” is a highlight in my eyes when it comes to this—while it stands a shorter song compared to others, it wastes no time in setting any mood other than pure, unbridled primal fury. Similarly, “Savages” and “Conditional Healing” are two barn-burning cuts that take swings at the listener as though they were baseball bats. While there are these two opposite ends of the band’s spectrum, Fit For an Autopsy expertly blend their own two relative extremes into a coherent and smooth experience, where no portion of the release feels disjointed or forced—giving the listener something markedly more immersive than some of the band’s previous works.
Just as Oh What the Future Holds instrumentally spans melodic metal undertones and overt assaults of deathcore, the band’s vocal element combines the two in dialectic as well. Fit For an Autopsy continue to include more haunting cleanly-sung passages throughout their freshest slab of multifaceted deathcore, giving songs like the near-ballad “The Man That I Was Not” a very different impact from much of the band’s catalogue. Elsewhere—and throughout most of Oh What the Future Holds—burly bellows and rasping, raw shouts dominate. “Collateral Damage” and “Conditional Healing” highlight these excellently—as does the varied and dynamic “Pandora.” Ultimately, while the vocal performance throughout Fit For an Autopsy’s latest release is certainly up to par, outside of an embrace for singing throughout more of the record, there ultimately isn’t much more to the vocal approach on this release as there has been throughout Fit For an Autopsy’s previous two.
Therein lies the predicament with Oh What the Future Holds: while its a solid album, it feels relatively stagnant, from a band who—for better or worse—have until now managed to keep their sound fresh. While there are some songs that are absolutely worth coming back to, much of the release doesn’t succeed in really catching the listener’s interest as readily as the band have previously done. This is abundant in songs like “The Man That I Was Not,” and to a lesser extent, “Two Towers” and the opening title track. While these songs are fine, they occupy a considerable amount of the record’s run time without giving much material that the listener feels compelled to return to—already in the context of a record that already has a difficult time separating itself from The Sea of Tragic Beasts. With that said, there’s a lot to love here—and those who couldn’t get enough of the band’s previous release will likely find this one to be in their top-of-the-year lists; however, from a band that has made some marked refinement to their sound on every release, ultimately, Oh What the Future Holds has me hoping the future holds a more invigorating release from Fit For an Autopsy.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Thy Art is Murder, Whitechapel
By: Connor Welsh