Maryland death metal stalwarts, Dying Fetus; return with their 7th album Reign Supreme which follows their last effort Descent Into Depravity nearly 3 years ago. Constant touring has not dampened this band's fire as they seem to be more popular than they have ever been. Having recently seen the band perform at Maryland Death Fest I can assure their live show and fans make for a fun and interesting site as well. More of the same sounds from the Fetus this time around as you will have your slow lumbering technical numbers and some excellent riff heavy songs with hooks aplenty. John Gallagher and company have been busy and the fruits of their labor show just that.
Dying Fetus is very much about no frills brutal death metal and at times borders on the extremely powerful technical prowess of each of the band's 3 members. I am a fan of what bands like Suffocation did with Effigy Of The Forgotten and Atheist's Unquestionable Presence, similarly bands like Chicago's Broken Hope also really helped to lay the foundation for what we consider to be technical death metal. While Broken Hope did it mostly tastefully Dying Fetus should probably shy away from the overly technical numbers as they seem to work best as a mid tempo crushing band with very good riffs. The intro to the album 'Invert The Idols' is exactly the problem I have with the band; way too technical for it's own good and wholly unnecessary as the follow-up track 'Subjected To A Beating' showcases a great amount of upside to the band. Reign Supreme tends to be a very bottom heavy album as the beginning is spotty and highlighted by the above mentioned track, and really tapers off from my memory until it kicks back in with 'Dissidence' and even parts of 'From Womb To Waste'.
Other highlights from the album include some great guitar pyrotechnics by John Gallagher, especially his solos and much less his random 20 second stretches of technicality which really seem to take away from the music in a "ok where are those great riffs again" sort of way. 'Dissidence' contains some of the best riffs next to 'Subjected To A Beating' and Gallagher puts on a great show with a flourish on 'the Blood Of Power'. Overall Reign Supreme should find it's place in any avid fan of technical/brutal death metal fan's collection; especially if you are already a fan of the band. I may not be the biggest fan of the genre but it's effect ties back to the beginnings of great death metal riffs and if the band could pump the brakes with some of the unnecessary embellishments they might become more a favorite of mine. For now they do a very good job nonetheless.