Overall Score: 8/10 Perfromances: 8/10 Songwriting: 8/10 Vocals: 9/10 Pros: Excellent performances | Songs that are emotionally investing as well as crushing Cons: Doesn’t deviate from the blueprint of deathcore enough to be utterly brilliant
Recently, Kerrang! ran a feature asking if deathcore, the genre that spawned Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence et al, was dead. The idea that the often maligned subgenre was lying dormant was roundly quashed just by looking at the recent success of the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Carnifex and Enterprise Earth, as well as a scintillating package tour featuring the former two artists and the fabled Fit For An Autopsy that will likely do gangbusters. With their latest album, The Sea Of Tragic Beasts, Fit For An Autopsy look set to claim the throne of the often lambasted musical style.
The title track of Autopsy’s fifth full length record opens proceedings with low slung, chugging guitars and addictive harmonic slides – arguably popularised by Gojira. You are instantaneously transported to a rough ocean landscape, heavy waves crashing against the side of your metaphorical vessel. To encapsulate a mood or feeling in music is a difficult enough task, but to create a palpable environment with technically proficient instrumentation is laudable. This is a broadly conceptual album rather than an outright concept album, and the feel of The Sea Of Tragic Beasts is one of well traveled intrepid adventurers pushing forth into bold new frontiers.
The choruses across this album are wonderful. Gang vocals and clean back ups taking the centre stage make for a terrifyingly brilliant live proposition, as is first evident on No Man Is Without Fear. Throughout this record we get a thoughtful examination of the human condition, through a bleakly stark lens. There are lyrics on the natural harmonic lead, Your Pain Is Mine, that deal with loss and shared agony, and you can feel the sincerity in them. The chorus is particular feels as though the band are fighting through desperation when claiming ‘Your pain is mine, I am you in another life’. It isn’t just the lyrical narrative that provides space for interaction however, as many of the guitar phrases are melodic and infectious in their own right. A cursory listen to the opening of Shepherd will confirm this claim, as the skillful performances of Timothy Howley, Will Putney and Patrick Sheridan throw down a riff you can find working its way into the animal part of your brain.
Structurally the album does rely on the well trodden path of deathcore. There are breakdowns around two thirds of the way through most of the songs, and the unrelenting pace dips a little towards the record’s centre – around Unloved and Mourn. However, it’s easy to understand why this pacing choice was made; it would be exhausting and one note to keep the album on the same path throughout and actually it speaks to dynamic craftsmanship to differentiate songs as such. Plus the songs all rage so that’s a bonus. The almost neoclassical solo in Birds Of Prey in particular provides a small surprise that maintains a level of intrigue about the album, while the brooding and mid paced finale, Napalm Dreams ends things on an understated note, hinting that there is more left in the Fit For An Autopsy tank yet.
This is quite possibly the best deathcore album of the year. While lacking in sonic deviation from the genre’s conventions, every song is performed with energy and aplomb. The performances across this album are adept at the very least, and positively inspired at their best. Special mention must go to vocalist Joseph Badolato who turns in a particularly stellar display of his powers. Produced beautifully with every intricacy making its way to the fore, the album is a joy to listen to, and these songs may prove definitive in Fit For An Autopsy’s career. Where they will go next is hard to determine, but based on their output thus far, they are on one hell of a run of form.
The new Fit For An Autopsy album, The Sea of Tragic Beasts Album, is released 25th October 2019 on Nuclear Blast Records.