Artist: Fit for an Autopsy
Album: The Great Collapse
Living in America—hell, living in the world—these days is a thrill. It isn’t so much a thrill in the same way a roller coaster, a party, an exciting night in Vegas—not in the same way any of those are a thrill. It isn’t a thrill in the same way a horror movie is thrilling, where you sneak peaks at a monstrous screen through cracked fingers waiting for the moment of impending doom to pass.
It’s a thrill in same way that near-death experiences are a thrill. It’s a thrill that comes with waking up every morning knowing the world you live in is on the brink of self-assigned annihilation. It is the thrill of practically inevitable destruction—of not knowing whether today is the day the world collapses around you. But if it was that day, and the world’s dissolution began at the first chime of your alarm clock, it would sound a whole lot like the latest full length album by New Jersey deathcore legends Fit for an Autopsy. The Great Collapse is, in many ways, exactly what its name suggests—an aural representation of society’s slow, insidious decline into disrepair. Sludgy, gloomy, laden with doom and spiced up with riff-driven intensity and moments of harshly metallic intensity, The Great Collapse is a continuation of the band’s impressive and diverse discography, continuing their foray into unique and intense territory, haunting yet oppressive and absurdly aggressive throughout its entirety.
In a time where “progression,” to many fans of heavy music, means the death of brutality and heaviness in favor of more mainstream metallic stylings, Fit for an Autopsy pose a valid question: why must evolution and maturation occur at the expense of eviscerating, punchy power. It just so happens than on their latest album, they answer that question with a resolute and resounding “it doesn’t.” The Great Collapse is beautiful and brooding all at once—with moments of tedious, tense ethereality in sharp contrast with Hellbound-esque heft and devastation. Percussionist Josean Orta practically defines this dynamic—especially in the latter portions of the album, on “Empty Still” and “Spiral” where the former song begins in a soft and serene fashion only to grow and morph into a blistering, infernal heat that carries into the latter. Orta’s skillset ranges from—you guessed it—lacerating blast beats and lurid, languishing breakdowns to Kylesa, jazz-and-stoner metal influenced moments of remarkable beauty, where bassist Peter Spinazola’s strong, thick tone adds depth, and the band’s trifecta of terrifyingly talented guitarists absolutely dominate. From the very beginning of the aptly named “Hydra,” Fit for an Autopsy’s three tremendous titans of shred, Will Putney, Patrick Sheridan and Tim Howley dominate, giving meaning to the three-headed monster that serves as the track’s namesake. Putney—co-founding member and chief songwriter—leads the charge throughout the duration of The Great Collapse, from the riff-friendly and ruthless aspects of “Heads Will Hang” and “Black Mammoth,” to the crushing moments of ten-ton oppression in “Spiral,” and until the moments of relaxing calm in…well, the self-same track. Putney, Sheridan and Howley continue with the somewhat half-hearted dynamic prevalent on Absolute Hope Absolute Hell and add to it, making it a diverse and engaging experience that keeps the listener thoroughly hooked throughout The Great Collapse’s forty-one minutes of fever-dream fury.
Without naming names, several of deathcore’s bigger names seem to be moving away from he genre’s confines—once more “progressing” by trading terror and titanic heaviness for…mediocrity, in all honesty. While this seems to be a trend sticking tight to several heavier artists, it is far from true of Fit for an Autopsy and their frontman Joe Badolato.
But here’s where things get tricky—and if you’ve listened to the band’s recent single “Heads Will Hang,” then you already know: there are clean vocals on The Great Collapse. However, if you let that dissuade you from enjoying the release, then the fault doesn’t lie with Fit for an Autopsy, but rather with you, because Badolato’s rare moments of cleanly sung bridges and refrains add an incredible, deep and jaw-dropping level of atmosphere and drift to the spacious moments of ethereal melody prevalent on songs like “Heads Will Hang” and “Empty Still.” This dynamism is compounded by how absolutely ferocious Badolato’s vocals are throughout the remainder of The Great Collapse. “Empty Still” and the catchier-than-the-clap “Hydra” are excellent examples, as are “Iron Moon” and “Spiral.” Badolato shows his growls and gritty, low yells are still as abrasive as sandpaper, scraping away the listener’s sanity like dead skin. Badolato’s talent remains untouched, following the remainder of the band’s lead and growing into the overzealous leaps made on the band’s previous release.
The Great Collapse is an immense, sprawling album that covers stoner-and-doom metal territories as well as it stays anchored in fist-swinging, spin-kicking deathcore. Working as a cohesive unit, Fit for an Autopsy work rigorously to create an album that truly captures the experience of a society imploding, falling in on itself beneath its own weight. Depressive and laden with despair during more lengthy and epic songs like “Empty Still,” while retaining blasting, skin-shredding aggression on portions of “Spiral” and throughout anthemic, discography-defining songs like “Hydra,” the band prove that, in spite of a marked stylistic departure and the misstep that was Absolute Hope, they’re still one of the most engaging and diverse—while still devastating—bands in heavy music’s more well-known echelons.
For Fans Of: Thy Art is Murder, Martyr Defiled, Oceano, The Acacia Strain
By: Connor Welsh