Fit For An Autopsy
Survival depends on evolution. As conditions change and tides turn, we must change with them in order to stay one step ahead of the coming challenges. It’s clear that Fit For An Autopsy have embraced that mantra as they continue to perpetually evolve with each subsequent body of work. Not just blurring, but eradicating the lines between technical metal virtuosity, death metal menace, hardcore intensity, melodic insidiousness, and abstract approaches, the New Jersey band embody an uncompromising vision of their own.
The six-piece—Joseph Badolato [vocals], Patrick Sheridan [guitar], Timothy Howley [guitar], Will Putney [guitar], Peter Blue Spinazola [bass], and Josean Orta Martinez [drums]—perfect this approach on their sixth full-length offering, Oh What The Future Holds [Nuclear Blast Records].
“It’s clear we don’t sound like we did when we started the band,” observes founding guitarist and main songwriter Putney. “Obviously, we’re taking the music in different directions. We’ve drifted into other styles, and our tastes have changed. So, it’s natural. But we’re definitely the most satisfied we’ve ever been with our music. If you were there from the beginning, there will always be something for you. However, it’s moving forward.”
Fit For An Autopsy have never stopped moving forward though. Following their caustic 2011 debut The Process of Human Extermination, the group quietly carved out a place among extreme metal’s modern vanguard with their second LP Hellbound. Revolver cited 2015’s Absolute Hope Absolute Hell among “15 Essential Deathcore Albums.” And In the wake of The Great Collapse two years later, the band had truly created their own space in the realm of what could be described as “post-deathcore”. This ascent reached another level on the 2019 opus The Sea of Tragic Beasts. Widespread praise from the fans and press alike is all but too common for their refreshing approach to modern aggressive music both on record and in concert.
When the Global Pandemic changed everyone’s tour plans, Fit For An Autopsy dove into writing in spring 2020 and made the most of their time off the road.
“We had no real timeline, so we didn’t feel much pressure,” says Putney. “Once we realized touring wasn’t opening up, we decided to have fun with the process. I got to spend more time than I usually do on records. We definitely took some of the songs into new places because of that. It’s our longest album. We composed more than we ever have and it was a rewarding feeling to put real work into all these ideas.”
In early 2021, Fit For An Autopsy congregated in-person at Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio and recorded Oh What The Future Holds. Now, they introduce the album with the single “Far From Heaven.” Swirling as a perfect storm, airy guitar cuts through a pummeling percussive groove as melodic vocals slip into a guttural groan offset by neck-snapping riffs and powerful dynamics.
“The world we exist in is clearly “far from heaven”. Institutions are exploited, and people are taken advantage of. There’s a power struggle between those in control and those who aren’t. This is a fairly literal reflection on the world today.”
“I always like it when aggressive music makes people think,” he leaves off. “Having a message is important to us. Maybe you’ll reflect on what we’re saying, see how it applies to you, and question some things. Or…maybe it’s just soundtrack to let some anger out. I’m fine with that too.”
In the end, Fit For An Autopsy haven’t just personally evolved on Oh What The Future Holds; they’ve brought heavy music with them.
metal’s classic blueprint Bonded By Blood. Keeping with that tradition, EXODUS was joined by their
original guitarist, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, on their most recent release Blood In, Blood Out (2014). In
its first week, Blood In, Blood Out doubled the first week sales of their most previous full-length release,
in addition to securing their highest charting position ever – #38 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart,
as well as #2 on the Hard Rock/Metal chart and #6 on the Independent Albums chart. Blood In, Blood
Out gained a strong foothold in European countries by topping several first-week international charts, as
well as landing at #6 on Canada’s Hard Music chart. Order the dual-disc Blood In, Blood Out digi-pak
The dead walk again! New York-based Undeath have returned from their mutilated tomb to horrify and dominate death metal’s insatiable masses once again. Their blessedly sick new album, It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave, shows the reconfigured quintet—Kyle Beam (guitars), Alexander Jones (vocals), Tommy Wall (bass), Jared Welch (guitars) and Matt Browning (drums)—have retained their mind-infecting sonic savagery but weren’t satisfied in their pursuit to improve it through wicked (yet studied) reformulation. Certainly, Undeath’s 2021 Decibel flexi, Diemented Dissection, paved the way, but it’s tracks like “Fiend for Corpses,” “Rise from the Grave,” and “The Funeral Within” that display Undeath’s terrifyingly insane trajectory. It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave isn’t just an early contender for death metal album of 2022—it’s destined to be a modern-day classic.
“Thanks to the pandemic, we had a lot of time to figure out what we were going to do,” says vocalist Alexander Jones. “We had a lot of opportunity to luxuriate in the writing process. We wanted to make the songs tighter. We wanted a more traditional approach to the songs—a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus-kind of thing; like the title track to Lesions of a Different Kind. We didn’t just want one song to be that way, but all of them to have that approach. Every song needed to have a big chorus. We wanted infinite replay value. I’d like to believe we achieved that.”
Undeath formed in Rochester, New York in 2018, and eager to show their devotion (and chops) to the elder death metal gods, original trio—Beam, Jones, and Browning—charted a course out of the proverbial cemetery the following year with their first offering Demo ‘19. The same year, the ever-quick songwriters dropped their second demo, Sentient Autolysis, in conjunction with Tampa-based indie Caligari Records. Word spread quickly that Undeath were rolling out of the Empire State strong, much like their forefathers in Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, and Mortician infamously had decades earlier. Stoked on Undeath’s bludgeoning yet song-first creativity, Los Angeles-based Prosthetic Records inked the New Yorkers in 2019. The group’s debut album, Lesions of a Different Kind, pyosisified fans and ossified critics mere months later. Pitchfork complimented Lesions of a Different Kind by saying it was “vicious and nauseating,” while Bandcamp were caught up in the album’s “catchy, hard-hitting” songs. Clearly, Undeath’s tightly-wrought, skull-crushing death metal had struck a chord.
“We are all excited about making music,” Jones says. “We’re stoked to be writing together. That’s why when we write, we do it early and often. We’re all students of Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, and Bolt Thrower, to name a few. These bands are our north star. We love the way they approached their songwriting—it was always very hooky. We love classic, essential death metal, but we’re also into the more recent stuff, too. Bands like Fetid and Cerebral Rot. We sit in the middle ground, I think. We take inspiration from the past, the present, and make it our own. We want to serve the genre we love so much.”
Musically, It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave was predominantly written by Beam, with bassist Tommy Wall contributing “Bone Wrought.” Astute listeners will hear vestiges of Morbid Angel, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse and more throughout. This isn’t appropriation though. This is homage. Undeath are resurrecting, re-arranging, and reanimating the aesthetics of death metal’s formative years, suffusing it with a contemporary take on memorability and efficiency. Tracks like “Defiled Again,” “Necrobionics,” “Head Splattered in Seven Ways,” and “Human Chandelier” are quick to kill. Guitarists Beam and Welch waste no time in establishing the knife’s edge, while drummer Browning and bassist Wall hammer-smash faces with brutal proficiency. Beam’s carnage-prone lyrics—as ferociously vociferated by frontman Jones—and Matt Browning’s gruesome cover art provide a profane platform from which Undeath launch. Every short-timed burst of song—they average three and a half minutes—from It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave is a tried and true deathly delight.
“We thought about the things that make a really good record,” says guitarist Kyle Beam. “We knew we wanted songs that were good and were different from one another. Those two things were first and foremost. There’s different moods conveyed, too. I was listening to a lot of Judas Priest, traditional heavy metal really. There was a lot of what we were looking for in that, actually. That was hugely influential to the writing process on It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave. The songwriting was more refined this time, I think. Don’t get me wrong though. This record is absolutely death metal. There’s no denying that.”
Undeath traveled to Philadelphia to record It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave with Scoops Dardaris at Headroom Studios in March-April 2021. The group spent two weeks tracking—a song a day almost. Dardaris rough-mixed on the fly during the recording sessions, and then required two more weeks after to finalize the mix. Not ones to sacrifice a working team, they brought on Arthur Rizk (Creeping Death, Enforced) to master. The sonic goal was to get a frenetic, nearly off-the-rails production, but with a discernible, if slightly lived-in line through it. Think: Cannibal Corpse’s Vile (Scott Burns) mixed with Carcass’ Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (Colin Richardson).
“Scoops recorded Lesions,” Jones says. “He’s a stable, reliable, and talented engineer. He’s great at what he does. We were super-satisfied with the sounds he got on Lesions. When it was time to record It’s Time..., we knew we wanted Scoops again. It was awesome working with him. I’m a vocalist who likes to go over everything line by line. I wanted everything to pop. He was so patient with us. Scoops is amazing! We also knew all along that we wanted Arthur to master the record. We’re big fans of everything he does.”
In four years, Undeath have done the unlikely. They have two celebrated, oft-streamed demos, a coveted Decibel flexi disc, two brutish videos (“Acidic Twilight Visions,” “Entranced by the Pendulum”), completed a riotous 30-date American tour mid-pandemic with The Black Dahlia Murder, and released a fan-obsessed full-length in Lesions of a Different Kind. To stop now would be contrary to Undeath’s diehard, work-hardened ethos. Indeed, they’re forging ahead. It’s Time... To Rise from the Grave undoubtedly levels up Undeath. The New Yorkers are the vanguard of the next wave of hard-hearted American death metal. Join the undead army now…march or die completely!