The time between previous album, the 2013 released Hellbound, and its new successor Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, has seen death metallers Fit For An Autopsy become not only more brutal but strikingly bolder in the adventure behind the infusion of melodic imagination and diversity shaping their ferocity. The evidence is all strikingly there in the band’s third album which is also the first with new vocalist Joe Badolato after the departure of Nate Johnson last year. Quite simply Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is a gripping tempest of sound and intensity, of passion and anger, and a new heady bench mark for the New Jersey hailing sextet.
Self-produced by guitarist Will Putney, who has also previously produced the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Acacia Strain, and Northlane, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell opens with its title track and a melodic tempting which reflects the first part of its title perfectly. Within a few more deep breaths riffs are crawling through the air and dark grooves binding ears as the quickly impressing delivery of Badolato steers the brewing volcanic tempest. Whereas in previously releases the open barbarism fuelling the new intent would be undiluted, here the opening enticing continues to flirt from within the storm, ebbing away occasionally to return with vocal elegance as the track relentlessly grows into and evolves its furious skin and body.
It is a mighty and thrilling start carried on by the following Wither, its first touch a crunching tide of raw riffs and imposing rhythms again straddled by the excellent tones of the new frontman. Johnson was a mighty force and texture within Fit For An Autopsy but Badolato brings something just as hearty but stirringly different which simply fits the band’s evolution in sound, Saltwound straight after conformation if it was needed. Backing vocals equally seem to have found a new zeal and hue to their roars too, on the third song creating searing harmonics within the sonic smog wrapping the rhythmic trespass of the track. Though not quite living up to the pair before, such their stunning success, the track quickly unveils more melodic enterprise and atmospheric imagination as forcibly alluring as any raw ferocity unleashed across song and album.
Both the Gojira meets Oceano like Murder In The First and Storm Drains exhaust the body and ignite the senses, the first a zealous predatory stalking which bewitches with repetitive hooks and spiralling grooves whilst becoming more barbarous with every passing minute and blast of viciousness. Its successor is a viscous sonic and vocal assault but again a turbulence unafraid to spin magnetic melodic and caustic tempting through the guitars of Putney, Tim Howley, and Pat Sheridan, drummer Josean Orta alongside splintering bone with his often restrained but fierce swings; that reserve emerging with the almost post-rock like ambience which also blows through the track.
Another high is breached with Ghosts In The River, Badolato offering a Jaz Coleman like tone to his cleaner grizzled delivery whilst around him vivaciously shimmering melodies seep from guitar strings and a warm inviting atmosphere leads the listener into the volatility and perpetually animus of the song’s heart. Bassist Shane Slade sculpts bait which borders on bestial but is tempered, almost smothered at times by the mesmeric melodic imagination working away on an already by this point greedy appetite. The track is as enthralling an inventive and fluidly diverse violation as you could hope for and quickly matched by the outstanding and creatively rabid Mask Maker which takes things to even more entangled richer depths. One moment it is scarring the senses with sonic acidity and the next creating a furious anthem which again has a slight Killing Joke scent to it, not to mention that of bands like Thy Art is Murder, though as shown yet again by Hollow Shell straight after, Fit For An Autopsy have created a presence truly distinct to them showing past great efforts were still a sound in the making. Hollow Shell is almost gentle in comparison to the previous track, well for a passing moment or two as sinews become stretched, emotions turn sour, and intensity is uncapped as the track boils over with rancor but without losing any of its creative enterprise and seamless fusion of melody rich ambience and toxic savagery.
Out To Sea is a song which took time to fully persuade, its opening emotive calm and sweeping atmosphere tempered for personal tastes by the vocal delivery choice of Badolato, his rasping tones a dampener on the climate but coming into their own as the short but potent track breeds a cantankerous torrent of hostility around the persistent beauty. It is a great appetiser for the virulent bad-blood of False Positive though, this a maelstrom of creative spite and bedlamic ingenuity as blusteringly unpredictable as it is punishingly hellacious. Every second brings a new chastisement for the senses and inventive tonic for ears and imagination, the album closing on the same lofty heights as it started, a pinnacle reinforced by album closer Swing The Axe and its more controlled and tempered storm flowing with and exposing the new direction and ingenuity in the Fit For An Autopsy songwriting and sound.
To simplify things, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is technically compelling, brutally impacting rock ‘n’ roll to give your soul to, the roar of a band’s sound coming of age with plenty more still to be explored and experienced. We have another best of year metal contender!
Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is available from October 2nd via eOne / Good Fight Music.
Pete RingMaster 02/10/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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