Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fit for an Autopsy - Hellbound

I’ve tried to write something on this album ever since it was released 2 years ago. Whether it is writers block or my busy outside life or my busy mind, I haven’t gotten around to it. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to finish this review without something distracting me or running out of things to say. And before you ask me, yes I DO plan on writing my thoughts on their newest album; I’m getting sick of people asking me about it. Okay…in my review of Malice by Through the Eyes of the Dead (here) I made a side note mentioning the first Fit for an Autopsy album (I probably won’t ever write a full review on it). This album that I bring before you today is the follow-up to that. Just like Through the Eyes of the Dead and just about anything else Nate Johnson touches, Fit for an Autopsy caught a lot of people’s attention very quickly because of his vocals and hunger for crushing brutality. But because Nate is so unpredictable and loves to leave bands at the most inopportune times without saying a word, a lot of fans did their best to hold back at least SOME of their excitement about Fit for an Autopsy. Anyways, when Hellbound was announced, teased, and released, everyone was all over it. Oh lord I actually waited a while to listen to it because I was so overwhelmed by overpowering response from so many people.

If you HAVE NOT listened to the first Fit for an Autopsy album, just take a moment and listen to the first track and then come back here. Yes it’s brutality is near impossible to put into words, yes the guitars are mixed so loud that you can barely hear anything else, yes the vocals are amazing, yes yes yes yes. It’s great, but all you need to hear is the first track and then you’ve heard the whole thing. That’s all I’m going to say about their first album. The question is that if they’re actually going to do something more than just chuggy brutality and breakdowns on Hellbound.

First impressions are important, and I do an in-depth analysis on the first/opening track more often than I’m willing to admit, but I’m going to do it again this time especially because it played a big part when I first listened to this album (I think I was walking about my first college campus after my classes when I first turned this on). The intro to the first track sets the tone almost immediately once Nate’s (literally) perfect growls echo through the recording. I came close to turning down the volume a few notches out of fear for what was to come. But actually, the band takes their time easing into things instead of just dropping everything on you at once out of nowhere like the intro track of the new Oceano or many Thy Art songs. The drums kick in and everything is steadily paced; turning things up a bit and adding more things little by little. Then after one full second of silence they remind you that this is a Fit for an Autopsy album. The part of the song that made me smile and say “fuck yes they fucking did it” was right around the 1:50 mark of that track, after they have their fill of melting you with blistering speed, they drop the catchiest…is it even a breakdown? It’s some weird polyrhythmic drop that is absolutely crushing. From then on I was hooked 100%. I was ready to be slaughtered and torn to pieces by whatever they put on this album.

The element that this album has that is the most unique is groove. It’s not all about brutality, it’s not all about the breakdowns, it’s not all about doing anything they can to get the kids with stretched ears to start swinging their arms around, groove is what I feel is when I listen to this album. Best example is easily Still We Destroy (a song that sounds a little too similar to The Purest Strain of Hate by Thy Art). I’m not sure how it’s done…is it the way the drums are played differently? I can’t put my finger on it but it’s amazing and I love it. For those of you looking for something non-traditional but still with a traditional vibe, this album is EXACTLY what you need in you library. Also the number of guitar solos is greater than their last album. Actually now that I mention it, guitar solos in general are becoming increasingly popular in deathcore. Remember the first albums by Oceano, After the Burial, With Blood Comes Cleansing, Impending Doom, etc. when there were next to no solos at all? Now you look at just about any of the latest deathcore albums and guitar solos are taking a much bigger role.

The production of the album is amazing. I can hear EVERYTHING and nothing hurts my ears. It sounds like a much, much cleaner version of the production on Thy Art’s Hate. The songs all differ from each other, but at the same time they all blend together like every good deathcore album should. Although the album DOES maintain its energy and quality of sound, the interest level dies out towards the end. I’m glad that they put the jumpy grooves and skull-flattening breakdowns from Mother of the Year towards the end of the album because otherwise I would’ve completely lost interest and turned it off. 

This album is very dark. It has an amazing vibe and atmosphere with an intense focus on groove and head-crushing brutality. If you want something amazing, this is it. For me, personally, the interest level dies out in a few places but overall I love this album. It’s different, it has a lot of unique elements and I would recommend it to just about anyone. This album gets a 17/20 from me.