Dying Fetus
Purification Through Violence (Reissue)

It’s hard to believe this album was originally released in 1996 on Pulverizer Records. Fifteen years ago? Really? What’s so surprising is what an obvious influence Dying Fetus—and albums like Purification through Violence—has been on the brutal death end of the spectrum, particularly the sub-genre known as slam metal. Check out the first break into slow tempo chug on “Beaten into Submission” and you’ll hear it immediately. Devourment is one example of a band that owes a big debt of gratitude to the Fetus Faction. Always known for an impeccable sense of groove, at least up through Destroy the Opposition, this first Dying Fetus full-length— now repackaged, remastered and reissued with new liner notes and bonus tracks through Relapse—is shocking in its influence on an entire sub-genre.

Relapse has done a bang up job with this rerelease, as well as the reissues of Infatuation with Malevolence, Grotesque Impalement, and the excellent Killing on Adrenaline. Purification through Violence offers an insightful glimpse into the development of the Dying Fetus sound. The emphasis of this early stage was on lots of grinding groove and a purposefully offensive lyrical bent, although as Jason Netherton (ex-Dying Fetus, Misery Index) writes in the liner notes, “Other tracks like ‘Nothing Left to Pray’ …were more pertinent to social reality and history (being a criticism of the Balkan War at the time), and ‘Beaten into Submission’ (about the WWI Battle of the Bulge)…also hinted at the direction the lyrics were to take in the future.” It is also interesting to hear how John Gallagher’s riffs on songs like “Bunt For Trauma” were heading toward the kind of superior catchiness that would define the band on albums like the aforementioned Destroy the Opposition, which features one of the greatest death metal groove-riffs of all time in “Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses).”

The value of this version of Purification through Violence involves not only a chance to discover (or rediscover if you’re a long time fan) this lesser known album and the slam-death blueprint, but also offers Netherton’s brilliant historical encapsulation in the liner notes. His discussion of the influence of hardcore rap on the vocal patterns and some of the lyrical extremity is intriguing, to say the least, and probably the stuff of sacrilege to the USDM purists, as silly as that may seem. The cover of Napalm Death’s “Scum” – renamed here as “Scum (Fuck the Weak)” – would be nearly unrecognizable to those otherwise unaware due to its down-tempo Fetusizing. The remastering is helpful, but the production still lacks some beef in the drumming and the guitar tone is a bit thin. But that is only in comparison to the production values of more recent Dying Fetus efforts and it is certainly not problematic from the standpoint of listener enjoyment. The “Beaten into Submission” 1997 rehearsal demo and the live “Raped on the Altar” bonus tracks are cool additions, though nothing I’d categorize as previously hidden gems.

In a nutshell then, it is without hesitation that I recommend the Purification through Violence reissue to any fan of Dying Fetus, including those that already own the original version. The younger generation of brutal death and slam fans could benefit from the history lesson as well.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
March 14th, 2011

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