Unkempt and festering from teeth to taint as a reeking tube of rarely animated human garbage in life and now a bulging, cold blue-bloated sack of vermin and toxic gaseous churn in death, the swollen corpse wriggles down a steep mud-slicked trench as the rain primes its descent. A leg catches tooth-like snares of jagged glass that’d slash drying rigor’d tendon and let loose the knee from the cadavers hunched formation, kicking outward. The first of many horrors yet conjures no blood. From his maggoted smile belches green and grey foam, the light mist of rain popping his viscous gargle like an enticing bubble mailer in the hands of a mailroom moron. The head rolls left and slaps the putrid water, the shoulder is next to pile on its weight. The great flop of his bloated and gratuitously nude upper body slaps wetly, an epileptic torsion with just one single fit, before the belly is shorn on an opportunistic plate of shale that’d act as a petri dish for the wriggling feast of bacterial stew and parasite within. Oozing outward and downward, a shrimp cocktail of neon green slime and scurrying anaerobic insect barely phase the already putrid swamp of human waste and plastic trash beneath. The rusted-sweet musk of human disintegration grants color and teeming life within a tributary previously only enriched by pipe-siphoned feces and the desperate corpses of fauna willing to drink from it. Count man among the first to create, see, and perpetuate his own doom and the last to prevent the piling of unsustainable life and the cruelty of our slow death. Quench your thirst for decay and cannonball your way into the toxic dead meat soup of Fetid‘s doomed-death and chug the rancid slime from the ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ they’d create.
The new generation of west coast United States filth and fucking doom coalesces in the pits of Portland, Oregon today as many’d migrate their bloody wares and fungal curse down from the traffic jammed Hell of Seattle as Fetid would beyond their formative years as Of Corpse with vital ties to Caustic Wound, Cauterized, and the true horror of Cerebral Rot. Among the most barbaric of the cellar dwellers stinking up the crypts Of Corpse would show their worthiness with a split from the (then) cranking on all cylinders Sewercide. The name was stupid, they moved to Portland and left their brutal Infester-isms to Cauterized and changed their name to Fetid. ‘Sentient Pile of Amorphous Rot’ (2017) demo was their first observation of a critically bubbling mass, a distorted bass and hammered-to-shit set of buzzing downtuned guitar growls already showing the pulverized slap of Cianide‘s ‘The Dying Truth’ and the loosened death/doom crunch of Derketa‘s ‘The Unholy Ground’ demo (alternately Mythic‘s EP). From that point their sound hasn’t strayed too far from the ultimate precursor race that was Autopsy‘s ‘Mental Funeral’, though their debut full-length ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ brings an appreciable level of fidelity and exemplar stature to a ‘murky by design’ primitive death metal style that quickly becomes a sub-genre all its own.
In a live setting a band like Fetid create a dominant and grinding groove with distorted bass throwing heavily downtuned thunder that’d guide the experience; This works incredibly well for a trio who’re writing for one guitar by default but it will always sound a bit like an unfinished demo when put to tape. Though they toy with rhythms and bombast that recalls the most classic Finnish and North American death (and death/doom) lordships Fetid never reach for a particularly high technical standard that keeps them just an inch short of the slithering ideals of Paralysis or (mid-era) Morpheus Descends. Rhythms may be attainable and direct but the entire experience hinges on groove and presence that ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ doesn’t surprise with. Again, in person it is an appreciably moshable churn but on record it reads as plain-and-powerful death metal. There is plenty to appreciate, though, as the crawling nastiness that Fetid bring is immediately heavy in its evocation of the early Cianide school of rotten bone-rattling down-tuned basement death metal, I’m personally on board for that every time and they do kick the speed up a notch throughout the release.
The whammy diving, bass-growling and hi-hat tapping freakery of “Consumed Periphery” is probably the highlight of ‘Steeping Corporeal Mass’ with its descent into high speed left-handed chord-strangling riffs and jogging double-bass blasts. Sure, the point has already been made that these are tricks of the early Autopsy trade but such is an infinite well of inspiration through fundamental presence. I only wish Fetid wrote tracks with memorable groove-based hooks (a la Morgue) rather than cyclonic pieces that often feel like exhibitions of ‘old school’ death metal motion. “Dripping Subtepidity” is a nearby second most valuable moment on this five song 32+ minute record for its interesting pace changes and progressions. I think most folks would start shaking their fists at the sky around two minutes into the beast of a song but there isn’t much else on the full-length that really begs to be obsessed over or ‘felt’ in any powerful way. I’d hesitate to label ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ as rote so much as I’d say its presence is entirely orthodox (read: ‘safe’) as ‘classic’ death metal with a handle upon pacing that is evocative of early death/doom metal progenitors. I’m all in for it and always make the effort to see this type of band live because that is where they shine best but I wouldn’t suggest that this is a timeless classic or whatever. Nonetheless Fetid‘s debut is a very deserved punch of death metal and filth-ridden doom to the sternum. Moderately high recommendation. For preview I’d recommend “Consumed Periphery” for the prime cut and then “Draped in What Was” for the sort of horror and intensity I’d hope the band is headed forward with.
Fist into corpse. 3.75/5.0
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