FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY
Corrupt politicians, manipulative mainstream media, government surveillance, mass shootings, clean water shortages, religious warfare, aggressive agribusiness, climate change, GMOs and a whole host of mind-numbing problems certainly make it feel like humankind is “going to hell in a hand basket,” as they say. There may be nothing that can be done about it at this point. But at least we have a killer soundtrack.
Fit For An Autopsy’s Hellbound is the perfect score with which to watch the flames rise. Punishing, unrelenting and alternately both heavy and dissonant, the New Jersey metal band’s first album for Good Fight/eOne conjures visions of Nero vigorously attacking his fiddle, even as Rome was engulfed in fire all around him. Esteemed English actor Michael Caine delivers perhaps the best line in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Death metal often chooses to deal in devils, demons and horror-movie inspired gore. “Deathcore” detours into broken relationships and introspective issues, much like its scene cousins in Metalcore and alt-rock. Fit For An Autopsy blaze their own path, opting to address the dirty, gritty and grimy reality of modern day life. There’s no fantasy, no plaintive odes to lost love. This music is hell. These songs are Hellbound.
Scene queens, careerist cartoons and poseur-iffic hacks best step aside when confronted with the self-assured, art-for-art’s-sake vibe of Fit For An Autopsy. As MetalSucks observed early on: “The band’s brutal, glowering take on [deathcore] reminded [us] of the squandered potential of the genre. Hardcore grooves and swagger, when incorporated correctly, blend quite well with death metal.”
On Hellbound, Fit For An Autopsy expand upon their commanding approach to an often maligned subgenre by synthesizing the rhythmic experimentalism of Gojira, the aggressive post-Noisecore of Converge, the esoteric and meditative tribalism of Isis, a virulent dose of the New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal (At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, early In Flames), the legendary progenitors of Floridian death metal (Death, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary) and the “deathcore” acts who offer actual proficiency in the genre (Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, Whitechapel).
Each nuanced building block is meticulously assembled together to form a near-perfect modern metal masterpiece, all with the confident vibe of a group of people making the music they want to make for its own sake, trends and “hype” be damned.
There was justifiable reason to be excited about Fit For An Autopsy from the start. The rich pedigree of its core members foreshadowed the momentous music that was to come. Guitarist Will Putney is an accomplished metal producer, mixer, engineer and cowriter. Putney’s fingerprints are all over currently relevant albums from Stray From The Path, Reign Supreme, Misery Signals, Vision of Disorder, Counterparts, For Today, Like Moths To Flames, and more. Guitarist Patrick Sheridan is rightly well regarded for his work on the fretboard as well as with a tattoo machine. The rhythm section of bassist Shane Slade and Sick Drummer-approved Josean Orta is beyond formidable.
The earliest rumblings of Fit For An Autopsy emerged on a 2008 demo. The self-released Hell on Earth EP arrived the following year, eliciting interest from Guy Kozowyk, The Red Chord vocalist and Black Market Activities label honcho. Kozowyk released Fit For An Autopsy’s devastating debut, The Process of Human Extermination, in 2011. Sputnik Music paid particular attention to Johnson’s dominating presence. “The dude’s a swamp creature,” they wrote of his “absurd” (in a good way) delivery. “When you hear him scream, it’s like, ‘What the —- was that?’ You realize whatever it is would probably eat you if you ran into it in the woods.”
The group’s seething contempt for modern society is rivaled only by the sonic bombardment dropped upon the unsuspecting all over Hellbound, a record that is equal parts challenging and engaging. It’s an album designed to make people feel uncomfortable, while at the same time, counter-intuitively soothed by its catharsis. Criminals, junkies and the systems that fail them; deadbeat parents; poisoned food; BS celebrities and false idols; they’ve all led humanity here. Hellbound draws a line in the sand. It’s a declaration that even it’s all going down the proverbial drain likeminded individuals can take some solace in the expression of shared rage.
Formed in 2007, Brooklyn-based experimental metal outfit TOMBS blends bleak, post-punk minimalism with the ferocious attack of sludge and traditional black metal. Over the course of the last nine years, TOMBS have established themselves as an act that’s as committed to consistency as it is to growth, developing smoothly (but never predictably) over the course of their career. ‘All Empires Fall’, the band’s forthcoming 2016 EP, is a commanding, crushingly heavy release, one that invokes the kind of grandeur and magnitude its title suggests, and one that affirms TOMBS as one of the leading lights of American – and international – black metal.
The group’s dark proto-industrial sounds were first developed as a collaboration between Mike Hill (Anodyne), Dominic Seita, and Justin Ennis, and put to wax in the form of a two-song EP simply entitled ‘Tombs’ (on Hill’s now-defunct label Black Box Recordings.) By the time TOMBS had partnered with Relapse Records and unleashed their first proper full-length, 2009’s ‘Winter Hours’, Seita and Ennis had been replaced with Carson James and Andrew Hernandez respectively. Two years later, the band’s sophomore outing 2011’s ‘Path of Totality’ featured prominently on many critics’ year-end metal lists, including at Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Decibel Magazine (where it was named album of the year), NPR, MetalSucks, and many more. ‘Path of Totality’’s follow-up, ‘Savage Gold’ (2014), also found widespread critical acclaim and garnered numerous year-end list mentions.
In addition to their highly lauded releases, TOMBS have become revered for their captivating live shows and have toured extensively with an array of artists as eclectic as their sound, trekking throughout North America and Europe with groups ranging from Eyehategod, Pelican and Isis to Wolves In The Throne Room, The Secret, Ulcerate and most recently 1349. TOMBS have also appeared at renowned festivals across the globe, including Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Roadburn in The Netherlands, and Psycho California & Maryland Deathfest in the US.
Never content to rest on their laurels, TOMBS have continued to evolve following the release of ‘Savage Gold’. 2015 saw the band welcome new drummer Charlie Schmid and keyboardist Fade Kainer (Batillus), allowing the group to vastly expand its live sound and elaborate on previous experiments in the studio. The group’s first release with the new lineup, ‘All Empires Fall’, was recorded at Applehead Studios in New York and brought to life by renowned producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Twilight, Yob). Clocking in at 24 minutes long, ‘All Empires Fall’ is a succinct synthesis of the innovation that first put TOMBS on the map and of the quintessential black metal ferocity that drives the band’s experimentation.
“Gut-thumping prog and punk influenced metal that effortlessly blends the high-adrenaline and technical virtuosity of The Dillinger Escape Plan with the snarl of Mastodon.” – Good Times Magazine
Moon Tooth is the new project of long-time friends and collaborators Nick Lee & Ray Marte. The band formed after the breakup of their previous endeavor, Exemption, which released several albums and made many friends touring the east coast during their seven year run from 2005 – 2012. Determined not to let that band’s dissolve slow them down, they immediately began work on a bigger, bolder, more aggressive project that became known as Moon Tooth.
Moon Tooth finds the pair at a new plateau of focus and energy. They quickly found kinship and camaraderie with vocalist John Carbone (Rice Cultivation Society) and bassist Vin Romanelli (Give Up The Goods) who both a bring a great deal of personality to the band’s sound. This band is eager to crush you with some devastating new jams. First EP entitled simply “FREAKS” was released 7/25/13 & recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ray Marte & Moon Tooth at Westfall Recording Co. in Farmingdale, NY from Winter – Summer 2013 but their live show is where the band truly delivers and with many new tunes already in the works for a full-length they will all assure you that you haven’t heard anything yet.
Like Rats is a death metal band from Chicago.