Written by: Blackie Skulless
I first discovered Fetid Zombie through their Death Covenant EP in early 2020. While pretty impressive, channeling the strong Obituary and rotting vibes, I certainly didn’t foresee them jumping to this level of intensity (this is also going in with no knowledge about the earlier full-lengths). Enter Transmutations, an absolute beast of a record that swings in a completely different position. Not only is the songwriting longer and more advanced, it’s so much more cohesive than I would have pictured.
Across the board, you have a friendly dose of hoarse and cavernous wailing (vocally and instrumentally), melodic traditional metal riffing, dissonant and intense lead passages, and a plethora of different vocal varieties. Almost never does a death metal record of this type pull off the traditional growls, roaring echoes, and even clean singing at times, like in the soft intro of “Dreamless Sleep Awaits.” But don’t mistake this for some generic melodeath accessible serving; it manages its accessibility with writing tactic that winds up being catchy. Lots of bells and whistles, synths, and effects are tossed in for wonderful measure.
Hell, even the rotting element isn’t gone. “Conscious Rot” takes a straightforward path, churning out familiar playing with incredible layering and striking percussion; and the grooves in that? Out of this world! Following the long and intricate opener with that was weaved in wonderfully, especially because they both managed to channel melancholic moods in their own respective ways. It’s done all over the place here; in the solos, the backing instrumentation, the bouncing between riffy OSDM passages and higher clean licks, all of it.
Transmutations isn’t a record that I would enter lightly. Full focus is needed to take in the entire effect; a lot of it is truly beautiful. So much influence is offered in what feels like such a small amount of time. I really can’t think of too many times where something used so many untraditional tactics for death metal, and blended them in so perfectly with the obvious OSDM traits. Phenomenal work of art that I do not recommend sleeping on.
Fetid Zombie - Transmutations was released July 30, 2021 via Transcending Obscurity Records.
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