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Music / Dying Fetus

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Dying Fetus is an American technical/brutal death outfit from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Characterized by a mix of frenetic 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
  • Wrong One to Fuck With, 2017
  • Make Them Beg for Death, 2023

Wrong One to Tropes With:

  • 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.
  • 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: They aren't, but they're cited as one of the single biggest influences on the genre.
  • Death Metal: One of the Trope Codifiers for brutal death, along with Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, and Pyrexia.
  • Epic Rocking: "Procreate the Malformed" (7:05), "Reveling in the Abyss" (6:29), "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.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Inverted by John, who shaved his head and face for virtually his entire adult life before he finally let his hair and beard grow at some stretch between 2019 and mid-2021.
  • Hardcore Punk: Takes heavy influence from NYHC, something that Netherton expanded upon with Misery Index.
  • I Am the Band: John Gallagher.
  • 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.
  • Lead Drummer: Kevin Talley is probably one of the most famous drummers in metal due to his extreme Wolverine Publicity tendencies and unbelievably frequent studio and live session work.
  • Long Runner Lineup: The Gallagher/Beasley/Williams lineup is a Type 1 as of 2018. Williams actually joined in 2007, but Mike Kimball was still in the band at the time and didn't leave until the following year.
  • Metal Scream: John Gallagher is a Type 2, sporting an extremely distinctive bark-like grunt that can be recognized instantly by virtually anyone who is even somewhat knowledgeable about death metal, while Netherton and Beasley both have a hybrid of a Type 1 and a Type 3 and Matthews had a hybrid of a Type 1 and a Type 2.
  • 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.
  • Older Than They Look: John Gallagher is in his late forties and hasn't visibly aged very much at all since the early 2000s. The same is true for Trey Williams, who, despite being in his early forties, still looks like he's in his twenties.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Gallagher has been accused of wiggerdom in the past, primarily due to his stated love of hip-hop.
  • Protest Song: A good portion of their songs from Destroy the Opposition onward.
  • Rap Metal: Certainly not a full-fledged example by any means, but hip-hop was a big influence on their early style and continues to shape their music (primarily their grooves and quasi-rapped vocals), and they were among the absolute earliest groups to mix hip-hop with extreme metal.
  • 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 and is also fairly sick of having to have the same conversation about the offensiveness of the name well over twenty years later.
  • 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 quickly abandoned this and opted to continue on as a trio.
  • Rule of Cool: Trey's self-admitted reason for using two kick drums. He also mentioned that his reason for removing one of them from his setup boiled down to his being sick of lugging around two full-sized kick drums on tour.
  • 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: Gallagher's low, bark-like grunts contrast Beasley's higher and more intelligible mid-ranged howling rasp; before Beasley, Netherton filled that role, and Vince Matthews also had his own mid-ranged bark to balance out Gallagher and Beasley when he was in the band.
  • 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 (just don't expect him to stay). He went full-circle in 2018, when Trey had to leave in the middle of a tour due to a family emergency, resulting in Talley jumping in to save the day (which also had the side effect of the setlist changing to include a lot of old-school songs).
  • Start My Own: Netherton with Misery Index and Matthews with Criminal Element, respectively.
  • The Stoner: Gallagher.
  • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: Gallagher uses "man" like most people would use a comma both onstage and off.
  • Vocal Evolution: John Gallagher's vocals used to be slightly higher and more gurgly and his phrasing used to have more of a hardcore feel; as the years went on, his voice smoothed out and became deeper, and his phrasing became somewhat more rap-esque.