While their first full length, 2011’s The Process of Human Extermination, had a lot of strong moments, Hellbound blows that release out of the water. Slightly less hectic than their debut, the writing on the sophomore release is more focused, and the songs are faster to grasp and burrow deeper into your memory banks.
It also doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either. At a trim 37 minutes, Hellbound is stripped down to it’s fighting weight, with only the primmest tracks making the final cut. Possibly the album MVP is frontman Nate Johnson, who possesses one of the finest death metal voices in today’s scene, with an immense amount of power and passion being forced out of his vocal cords. Even guest spots from The Acacia Strain’s Vincent Bennett and CJ McMahon from Thy Art Is Murder fail to lessen Johnson’s powerhouse growls and yells.
With a sound that would be best described as the byproduct of Whitechapel, Gojira and just a chaotic touch of Converge/Dillinger Escape Plan, Fit For An Autopsy are one of only a handful of bands doing the modern death metal/deathcore thing right. Sure, breakdowns are used, but never as a crutch, as the pace is raised just as many times as it’s dropped after a build up.
First single “Still We Destroy” is a perfect mission statement for the album; a straight up, aggressive (relatively) mid-paced track with strong guitar work. There are no real curveballs or impenetrable techfests on Hellbound, just top quality song writing throughout, and highlights come from all over the LP, with “The Great Gift of the World”, “Tremors” and “Children Of The Corn Syrup” all furiously destructive and addictive songs.
The production job by guitarist Will Putney - who has worked on a whole host of various heavy acts at the Machine Shop studios - is naturally world class; raw and real sounding without sacrificing any precise instrumentation or heaviness.
Packing super heavy and immensely memorable songs, it will seriously take a masterpiece from a rival band to outdo Fit For An Autopsy’s new album, because to this reviewer’s ears, Hellbound is the definition of modern death metal.
(released September 10, 2013 on eOne Music)