Dying Fetus
Killing On Adrenaline (Reissue)

It wasn’t until 2000’s Destroy the Opposition that I discovered Dying Fetus, who were being touted as the heirs apparent to the then-on-hiatus Suffocation. Based on Destroy the Opposition and Killing on Adrenaline, which I picked  up shortly after hearing Destroy the Opposition, those claims were certainly founded at the time. But for those that missed the bus before Dying Fetus blew up, Relapse Records has repackaged, remastered and reissued the bands first four releases.

As my esteemed colleague Scott Alisoglu has commented is his review of the Grotesque Impalement EP, which followed this album, Dying Fetus wanted to ‘return to their roots’ with that EP and the reason was that Dying Fetus were in a bit of a transition in the late ’90s, with Killing On Adrenaline serving as the start of that transition with a noticeable shift in lyrical focus and sound. The lyrics, as bassist Jason Netherton comments in the must read liner notes of this reissue, was in full transformation here. Shifting from more primitive, brutal death metal subject matter to more political, socially aware and anti-corporate lyrics, even with hints of sarcasm. Even the artwork, which remains unchanged for the re-issue, symbolized the direction Dying Fetus were taking, and would eventually fully embrace with Destroy the Opposition.

Musically, primary song writer John Gallagher was injecting more hardcore into Dying Fetus‘ brutish death metal sound signaled by a cover of Integrity‘s “Judgment Day” (and which Netherton readily admits in the liner notes). With the addition of drummer Kevin Talley (who was a relatively unknown at the time, but would go on to be one of the US metal scene’s most respected and in demand drummers), the line-up would become the ‘classic’ Dying Fetus line-up once Sparky Voyles was added to the action as well. This mutation allowed the band to progress their sound into much more technical and tighter realms — beyond that of basic, blasting, grind influenced death metal. And that progress started here.

There are those that would argue that Killing On Adrenaline is actually Dying Fetus‘ best album as it retains more primal throes of the band’s early material with only hints of the more polished, groovy, hardcore-based and far more mainstream sound that Destroy the Opposition was about. And while I would beg to differ, there’s no doubt that Killing On Adrenaline is still somewhat of a landmark US metal album as it has influenced everything from the brutal slam scene to the modern deathcore movement. The sense of groove that Dying Fetus would patent, is on full force here, with Gallagher’s riffs now far more coherent and backed by Talley’s much more technical drumming. Netherton’s hardcore bark was also far more prominent than on previous releases, leading many to rue the more hardcore-ish influence. But there’s no mistaking that the songs here are the seed for Dying Fetus’ current sound; the controversially but misleadingly named Fetus-anthem “Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog”, ambitious “Procreate the Malformed” and “Fornication Terrorists” are staples of the band’s live shows to this day — and the backbone of the band’s current sound.

The Relapse reissue of Killing on Adrenaline comes with the least amount of bonus content, only having a 1997 rehearsal demo of “Fornication Terrorists” and live version of “Judgment Day” from a 1998 show in Herbolzheim, Germany. As with all the other reissues, this version comes in a neat little digipak (sorry digipak haters) with some informative liner notes from former member Jason Netherton (I wonder why Gallagher didn’t contribute any notes?) and an inlay booklet with some nice, candid photos. The remaster is barely noticeable, with the bass being a bit lower and less muddy than in the original release.

As a whole, this is probably the least necessary of the four re-issues. On the other hand, the album itself, in any iteration, remains a must have for USDM fans. Along with the reissues of Infatuation with Malevolence, Purification Through Violence and the Grotesque Impalement EP, this is a significant entry into the American death metal history and the legacy of one of the more important and influential metal American bands of the last 15 years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 14th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    that’s my favourite Integ track. gotta hear that.

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