Band: Dying Fetus
Album: Make Them Beg For Death
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Release Date: September 8, 2023
For Fans Of: Suffocation, Devourment, Mortician
Dying Fetus have seemingly always been there. Always making music that’s just a bit meaner and darker than bands like Morbid Angel or Cannibal Corpse. Existing at the edge of serious business where you’ll know from the first riff if the entire style isn’t for you. Unlike the other legends in this space, such as Devourment, Suffocation, and friends, Dying Fetus never spent years wandering in the purgatory of mediocre music or retirement. For decades, they’ve been around to establish what brutal death metal can do. They’re not ready to go away yet. Make Them Beg For Death is their ninth full-length release, and their first in six years. It’s worth the wait.
If you’ve never paid attention to a Dying Fetus album, listen to any song on any of their albums and you’ll immediately know if this is for you or not. A more useful comparison might be to the band’s last release: 2017’s Wrong One To Fuck With. While I enjoyed that record, I don’t find myself returning to it often. Both records are structured around both Suffocation-borrowed slams and riffs that border on glamorous. Beyond that, there are some differences worth going into.
The production on Make Them Beg For Death is a bit darker, but not in a way that always sounds like an improvement. Wrong One To Fuck With had too many moments where not enough was happening, and these took their toll over the fifty-plus minute runtime. The filler moments on Make Them Beg For Death don’t make me lose interest as quickly, and there are less of them over the sub-forty minute album. Last, the riffs on Make Them Beg For Death are just more interesting to me. Still, the two records don’t come from different graveyards. If you actively disliked Wrong One To Fuck With, this isn’t for you. But if you enjoyed that record this should be a stronger release.
Dying Fetus work best when they’re almost in slam territory, but still pushing forward enough to be their own beast. They’ll slow down the tempo and sink into the mud as well as anyone. Then they really shine in their ability to immediately rip forward with a furious energy. Their sweep-picking riffs do an excellent job at flicking the switch between slow, disgusting slams and the fast fire of their more technical side. It’s not 1991 anymore, just doing boilerplate slam isn’t exciting or cutting-edge. What was once at the extreme limit of what music can be is now eclipsed in brutality by dozens of bands every month. Without that edge, all that’s left to separate this band from a crowd of muddy imitators is Dying Fetus’s fantastic songwriting and consistently excellent performances.
What makes Dying Fetus work? There’s something charming about how this band just keeps chugging along making their style of music, regardless of how stylish it is. This sounds simultaneously quaint compared to some of the brutal death coming out now but also refreshingly honest and direct. Of course the absurd songwriting talent backed up by the skills to play any sound they want helps. Dying Fetus’s ability to make catchy, distinct sounds in the world of brutal death is unmatched. No one will mistake Make Them Beg For Death for a melodeath album, but Dying Fetus continue to be experts at making all of their riffs stick with you forever.
Make Them Beg For Death contains some stratospheric musicianship. Sometimes to the band’s detriment. The sweep-picking riffs and solos can take away from the overall progression of a song and make it sound like they exist just to be a disjointed riff. Beyond that, the drums sound a bit more flattened than I’d like, although the production overall is marvelous and clear. Last, I complain often about other bands using their songwriting formulas as crutches rather than tools. Dying Fetus are absolutely using their standby songwriting techniques as tools here and making their album better in the process.
Maybe Make Them Beg For Death won’t end up being a classic in the death metal canon. All I know for sure is that I’ve been more pumped to listen to this than any other album I’ve reviewed since 2021’s A Monument To Silence. If the review seems too hagiographic, I just don’t know what else Dying Fetus can accomplish. I recommend this to anyone who’s forgotten the quality of this band. It’s a hell of a reminder, and one of my favorite albums of this year.
- Enlighten Through Agony
- Compulsion For Cruelty
- Feast Of Ashes
- Throw Them In The Van
- Unbridled Fury
- When The Trend Ends
- Undulating Carnage
- Raised In Victory/Razed In Defeat
- Hero’s Grave
Total Playing Time: 37:29