DYING FETUS – War of Attrition

It’s taken DYING FETUS four years to release a new album but in their defense, the band went through more changes, scaling down to a four-piece and picking up yet another drummer. With a revamped lineup in place, one would expect the band to come back in full force with a furious album that would help them re-establish themselves as leaders of the death metal pack. Unfortunately, War of Attrition is not that album. “Homicidal Retribution” welcomes the listeners back with enthusiasm and the band’s trademark grooves. But after that solid opening track, things go downhill fast with the band meandering through a series of sluggish, mediocre riffs. This trend continues throughout the bulk of the album, and aside from that opening track, there are precious few moments where the band’s past glimmers through. “Insidious Repression” offers up several classic FETUS elements and accents, and album closer, “Obsolete Deterrence,” opens up with a promising opening riff, but unfortunately comes across as an unfinished idea. War of Attrition suffers from this setback throughout most of the record, with most songs coming across as collection of thrown together mix and match riffs rather than actual songs. It’s not even so much that the tracks are yawn-inducing as much as the band’s actual delivery doesn’t help matters as they sound just as bored playing the material as I am listening to it. Make no mistake, War of Attrition is not a soft-sounding record. The production is solid, the band is competent, but at this point in their career, one would expect more than just bland, bare-bones minimum songwriting and performances. After consistently delivering pummeling albums throughout their career, it’s odd to hear the band stumble through such dull, formulaic material. Maybe the continuous lineup changes have finally taken their toll, maybe the band has run out of fresh ideas. But all of the hooks, skull-crushing breakdowns and grooves that made Killing on Adrenaline and Destroy the Opposition instant classics are all but gone, replaced instead by one dull riff after another. A disappointment to say the least, War of Attrition is a stagnant, uninspired collection of stale, tired material, from what was once of the death metal’s leading acts. Let’s hope that the “dying” in the band’s name isn’t indicative of their career, and that they will able to resurrect their playing and songwriting abilities for a killer album next time around. (Relapse Records)