Dying Fetus

Grotesque Impalement

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This EP, initially released in the wake of 1998's Killing on Adrenaline, features only one lineup change from its predecessor: guitarist Brian Latta has been replaced by Sparky Voyles. Surprisingly, given that "Sparky" is about the least death metal name imaginable, Voyles stayed with the band through its next full-length (and Relapse Records debut), 2000's Destroy the Opposition. That album proved to be their breakthrough, both artistically and in terms of their reputation within the metal scene. Grotesque Impalement, then, can be seen as the final stage in their journey out of the under-underground, paying tribute to their peers (covers of songs by New York death metal group Baphomet and Maryland hardcore band Next Step Up) and throwing a totally left-field joke track on at the end. "Hail Mighty North/Forest Trolls of Satan (Anno Clitoris 666 Opus II)" is a classically early-'80s anthemic metal song, with simplistic riffing, a fist-pumping chorus, and a surprisingly clean (though still hoarse and guttural) vocal. It's not a total stylistic pastiche, but it demonstrates a melodic gift that the band typically hides -- right until the sexually explicit monologue before the guitar solo. This is a release that only die-hard fans of Dying Fetus really need to hear, but they'll like it just fine. [The Relapse reissue from 2011 appends two bonus studio tracks and one live track.]

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