(Andy Synn takes a look at the new album from Fit For An Autopsy – out tomorrow on Nuclear Blast – to see what the future holds the band)
Love them or loathe them – and it should be pretty clear what side of the equation we fall on here at NCS – there’s no denying that Fit For An Autopsy have been on a nigh-unstoppable roll for the past several years.
But I’m here to tell you that, as good as both The Great Collapse and The Sea of Tragic Beasts were (the latter especially), Oh What The Future Holds makes them seem like a mere practice run in comparison.
The opening pairing of the title-track and “Pandora” both drop some teasing hints towards the gloomier and more atmospheric nature of the album as a whole, even as they’re throwing some seriously chunky chugs, blazing blastbeats, and vicious vocal hooks (“too many graves, not enough shovels“) at you.
But it’s with “Far From Heaven” that Oh What The Future Holds begins to fully reveal all that it has to offer, exposing how the band have expanded their moodier, more melodic sensibilities even further… but without sacrificing their inherent heaviness in the process.
From this point on …Future… doesn’t even come close to dropping the ball (I might even go so far as to argue it’s their most consistently strong release since Absolute Hope…) as every single song is as packed full of crushing, catchy riffs and clever, crafty hooks – all underpinned by a punishingly precise performance by drummer Josean Orta and augmented by a rich and powerful production job by the band’s own Will Putney – as the very best cuts from each of their previous albums.
What truly separates this record from its predecessors, however, is the newfound sense of dynamic depth the group have brought to the music, with songs like the stunning “Two Towers” and captivating closer “The Man That I Was Not” even hinting at some emerging Post-Metal influences making their way into the band’s ever-evolving sound.
This dynamism also extends to the vocals, as not only does frontman Joe Badolato deliver the most varied, visceral, and downright venomous performance of his career (as well as proving himself to be a highly underrated lyricist) but the layering of voices – growls and screams combining to reach new extremes, crooning melodies shifting the mood towards something more sombre and melancholy – demonstrates just how much extra care and attention has been focussed on communicating the emotional core of the music this time around.
That’s not to say that Fit For An Autopsy have gone soft – far from it, in fact – as songs like the propulsive “A Higher Level of Hate” and the neck-wrecking, throat-ripping “Savages” are as aggressive and intense as anything they’ve done before, while both “In Shadows” and “Conditional Healing” throw down some of the heaviest grooves we’ve heard from the band since their earliest days.
But there’s no escaping the fact that, beneath all the massive riffs, roaring vocals, and bombastic hooks, it’s the more subtle elements – such as how the group have elected not to over-use the clean vocals (a temptation a lot of lesser bands would surely have given in to) but instead choose to save them for those moments where they’ll be most effective and have the biggest impact – which truly make this album special.
It’s always hard, when praising a release like this one, not to accidentally slip into excessive hyperbole. But I hope that when you finally get to hear this record in full for yourselves you’ll find that what I’ve written here is an accurate reflection of an album which, in essence, officially marks the culmination of the band’s post-Deathcore years and the beginning of a whole new chapter whose future is yet to be written.