For Fans Of
Something we need to get out of the way in the first instance: ‘deathcore’ is a really dumb word and in 2015, it’s getting beyond tired. This reviewer has never been a massive fan of this hotly debated subgenre, and yes, admittedly there are still bands getting around with a caustic mix of death metal riffs, guttural vocals and stomping breakdowns, but if we disregard the bullshit posturing and message-board politics for a second – isn’t it all just ‘metal’ in some form or another? If you look back hard enough, you’ll find ‘breakdown’ sections from seminal metal bands like Pantera, Sepultura and even Metallica, so is there really any point in this core-distinction, purely for the sake of argument? Best to leave that for Youtube comments where they belong.
This being said, the preference to get outside the ‘deathcore’ box has been a driving force for heavy bands at the forefront for some time now. Job For A Cowboy have incorporated a hefty amount of ambient instrumentals into their deathly sonic palette, Whitechapel went for more grooves over excessive drop-tuned chuggs, and even Australia’s own Thy Art Is Murder have received notable success with their ‘down the middle’ approach and incorporation of traditional death metal elements. New Jersey metal bruisers Fit For An Autopsy seem to be the next in line to try their hand at this form of evolution, and the results here are positively astounding.
It’s right around the fourth track, ‘Murder In the First’ where the blunt force trauma of the biting social commentary featured on ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’, their third full-length release and first outing for vocalist and new recruit, Joe Badolato, really hits home. Espousing an incredibly pessimistic world-view, with lines such as, “Dear devil, I fucking quit. You can have this world, it’s a piece of shit,” it becomes immediately apparent that Badolato isn’t a dude who’s fucking around in the slightest. And it’s this absence of all things fuckery on ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’ which succeeds in grabbing the listeners attention right from the word go. Each track is as devastating as it is poignant, and in a welcome change for fans of the genre, no two songs sound alike. Musically, ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’ finds Fit For An Autopsy drawing from numerous influences, and at many points in the record you’ll hear the echoes of progressive groove metal giants Gojira (‘Ghosts In The River’), the thunderous, discordant riffs of Ion Dissonance (‘Wither’ and ‘False Positive‘) and the melodic sensibilities of Darkest Hour (‘Storm Drains’ and ‘Swing The Axe’).
Prior to releasing the album, guitarist and famed producer Will Putney confessed, “It’s our new and fresh approach to aggressive music, not a half-hour of blast beats and breakdowns.” And Putney couldn’t be more sincere in this declaration, as the metal six-piece have crafted a wide variety of moods across the eleven tracks of ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’, which extend far beyond the worn clichés of the deathcore template.
While the individual elements featured on ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’ might not be ground-breaking in terms of originality, the real win comes from its composition in the face of relentless aggression. The pacing and track sequencing is spot on, letting the dynamics of the record twist and turn seamlessly, enveloping the listener in a wide swath of earth-shattering heaviness, dark lyrical introspection and morose melodies. ‘Absolute Hope Absolute Hell’ is an album that demands attention with every listen, and will leave hooks and barbs of varied emotions firmly entrenched in your mind after the final notes ring out. Comparisons with Thy Art’s newest effort ‘Holy War’ are inevitable, as Will Putney is not only behind the boards but also pulling axe duties, however the record stands as an impressive achievement for Fit For An Autopsy, and will undoubtedly serve as a benchmark for younger metal bands in the future.
1. Absolute Hope Absolute Hell
4. Murder In The First
5. Storm Drains
6. Ghost In The River
7. Mask Maker
8. Hollow Shell
9. Out To Sea
10. Swing The Axe
11. False Positive