Dying Fetus is an American technical/brutal death outfit from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Characterized by a mix of spastic technical sections, mid-paced, heavily NYHC-influenced pit riffs, and a dual-vocal approach, Dying Fetus has become one of the most prominent faces of American death metal, having proved highly influential to both their fellow death metal acts and to the deathcore
genre as a whole. They have also gained a reputation as some of the premiere road warriors in metal, with the moments that they're not on tour being few and far between.
Formed in 1991 by John Gallagher (guitar, vocals), and Jason Netherton (bass, vocals), the band was not taken as a particularly serious endeavor until Nick Speleos (guitar, vocals) joined, with Gallagher doubling up on drums in lieu of a full-time drummer. This lineup recorded the Bathe in Entrails
demo. In late 1993, a drummer, Rob Belton, was found, while Brian Latta replaced the departing Speleos, the latter pushing Gallagher back into the vocalist role. From there on out, they have had a fairly unstable lineup, with Gallagher being the only consistent figure, though Sean Beasley (bass, vocals) and Trey Williams (drums) have been the longest-lived members since Netherton himself.
Several former members have gained some degree of fame on their own, with Netherton having formed Misery Index
and Vince Matthews having formed Criminal Element, while Kevin Talley gained his own fame by way of session fill-ins for just about every band imaginable.
- Bathe in Entrails, 1993 - demo
- Infatuation with Malevolence, 1994 - demo
- Infatuation with Malevolence, 1995 - compilation of first two demos
- Purification Through Violence, 1996
- Killing on Adrenaline, 1998
- Grotesque Impalement, 2000 - EP
- Destroy the Opposition, 2000
- Killing on Live, 2002 - live DVD
- Vengeance Unleashed/The Beating Goes On, 2002 - split with Deepred
- Stop at Nothing, 2003
- War of Attrition, 2007
- Descend into Depravity, 2009
- History Repeats..., 2011 - cover EP
- Reign Supreme, 2012
This band provides examples of the following tropes:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Kevin Talley's manic, frenzied, incredibly physical playing style is almost as recognizable as his ability to learn whole sets in a matter of hours.
- Appropriated Appellation: The title for "Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog" came from Gallagher's high school days, as he went to a Catholic school and was the only person in the school who listened to metal, which his classmates derisively referred to as "that 'kill your mother, rape your dog' music". Gallagher more or less threw it in to the song in question for the hell of it, with no intention of the song ever becoming the Signature Song and live staple that it did.
- Ascended Extra: John "Sparky" Voyles was a roadie before being welcomed in to replace Brian Latta.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: The reason why Talley is as in demand as a live session fill-in as he is is because he can learn whole setlists in the span of a few hours and play them absolutely 100% perfectly.
- Bald of Awesome: John Gallagher.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog"
- Cover Version: A fair amount. "Scum'', ''Unchallenged Hate", "Judgment Day" (Integrity), "Streaks of Blood" (Baphomet), "Bringing Back the Glory" (Next Step Up), "Twisted Truth" (Pestilence), "Fade into Obscurity" (Dehumanized), "Gorehog", "Unleashed Upon Mankind", "Born in a Casket"... they've covered a lot of stuff.
- Deathcore: Not themselves, no, but they helped lay down the foundation for the genre as a whole.
- Death Metal: One of the Trope Codifiers for brutal death, along with Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, and Pyrexia.
- Epic Rocking: "Procreate the Malformed" is the longest at 7:05; other than that, there's "Abandon All Hope" (6:22) and "Raping the System" (6:11).
- Gorn: A common lyrical theme of their early material. Hell, even their name counts.
- Hardcore Punk: Takes heavy influence from NYHC, something that Netherton expanded upon with Misery Index.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Even for death metal thanks to Gallagher's notoriously low grunt.
- Lead Bassist: Netherton and Beasley both qualify as types A and B, with Netherton additionally qualifying as a C due to his status as a founding member.
- Metal Scream: John Gallagher has an extremely distinctive grunt that, while exceptionally low, sounds more like a bark and less like a gurgle, while Beasley sports a higher howling rasp.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A very solid 10.
- Motor Mouth: Gallagher does this occasionally, most notably on "Fornication Terrorists".
- Murder Ballad: "Subjected to a Beating", "Your Treachery Will Die With You", "Permanently Disfigured"... they have a lot of these.
- No Export for You: Generally averted, as most of their bonus tracks have showed up on domestic releases at some point or another; "Reduced to Slavery", however, was a straight example until the 2010 rerelease of Grotesque Impalement, where it was added along with a few unreleased tracks.
- Older than They Look: John Gallagher is in his early forties and hasn't visibly aged very much at all since the early 2000s.
- One of Us: Trey's love for video games is quite well known.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Gallagher has been accused of wiggerdom in the past, primarily due to his stated love of hip-hop.
- Promoted Fanboy: Trey. He even acknowledged in an interview that going from playing in Covenance (a token "perpetual local opener" act from Baltimore that had a short Canadian tour as the highest point of their career) to playing in Dying Fetus was the single biggest career-related leap that he had ever taken and that when Sean asked him if he wanted to join, he needed a few days to think it over just because of how major a change it was.
- Protest Song: A good portion of their songs from Destroy the Opposition onward.
- Refuge in Vulgarity: Their name, which Gallagher admitted was an attempt to be as offensive as possible. He chalks it up to their being a bunch of teenaged shitheads at the time.
- Religion Rant Song: "Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses)", among others.
- Revolving Door Band: Had major problems with this for a while. That being said, they have not had a lineup shift since Mike Kimball left in 2008 and are steadily creeping towards Long Runner Lineup territory.
- Rock Trio: Since 2007. They initially decided to try and find a replacement for Mike Kimball but decided to continue on as a trio.
- Signature Style: If you hear a song that mixes extremely fast blasting portions, winding tech portions that make heavy use of sweep picking, and mid-paced mosh riffs that also sports a high rasp/low grunt dual vocal system and frequently follows a rap-like cadence, then it's probably a Fetus song.
- Soprano and Gravel: Sort of. Clean vocals are nowhere to be found and would be very out of place, but Beasley (and Netherton, by extent) contrasts Gallagher's extremely low grunts with his somewhat higher vocals, which are fairly reminiscent of the Tampa Bay Area sound.
- Special Guest: Talley has made an entire career out of this. If there's a band who is currently without a drummer and needs one for live or studio session work, there's a very high chance that Talley will fill the spot.
- Start My Own: Netherton with Misery Index and Matthews with Criminal Element, respectively.
- Take That: "Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog" is actually one of these against the mainstream music industry, and even goes so far as to specifically name the Spice Girls, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews and REM. "Invert the Idols", meanwhile, is a more general "anti-image" song that insults bands who place too much emphasis on aesthetics instead of just letting the music say everything.
- Technical Death Metal: They focus on pit breaks enough to not entirely qualify, but they are known for their technical sections as much as they are known for their breakdowns.
- Teen Genius: Kevin Talley was no older than eighteen or nineteen when Gallagher, Netherton, and Latta first met him, and he was around nineteen when he recorded Killing on Adrenaline.
- The Rival: To Suffocation, to some degree, but the two bands are good friends with one another and carry deep mutual respect for their work.
- Trope Maker: For Baltimore-style death metal; while they weren't the first band from that area to gain prominence, they did lay the groundwork for the heavily NYHC-influenced brand of death metal as played by Misery Index, Criminal Element, Covenance, Severed Head, Fuck U All, and other Baltimore-area death metal outfits.