Maryland’s very own death metal destroyers known as Dying Fetus have evolved over the years from a gore-caked assault on the senses to a more politically-infused, blunt force juggernaut. Guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher and drummer Trey Williams took a breather at the Indianapolis stop during their recent whirlwind trek on the Face Melter Tour with Annotations Of An Autopsy, Conducting From The Grave, Misery Index and Arsis, to shed some light on the internal workings, evolutionary growth of the band, as well as what lies ahead.
Trey: [laughs] It’s goin’ good…goin’ good!
John: Good shows, good times. Got some good bands. Fans, friends. Yeah, man, it’s been a success so far.
Can you describe the evolution of the band’s sound through its seven records?
John: I mean it’s all pretty much…they just got more technical, I would say, in the more recent years. But it’s still death metal, you know. It still encompasses most of the same kind of guitar riffs, chug riffs, you know? The drums have gotten better through the years, I would say, more technical, faster, more complex.
What effects have the band’s numerous line-up changes had on Dying Fetus over the years?
John: It’s made it more interesting…more different people to hang out with on tour [laughs]
Trey: There’s been a lot of line-up changes as with a lot of death metal bands, you know, but as long as you’ve got the same focus, the same direction, it’s ok, you know? Sometimes line-up changes are good…brings in some fresh blood, you know? People that are more hungry, that wanna do it. Every line-up change has its own reason, its own scenario so it’s all kind of different.
What has been the career highlight for Dying Fetus in your opinion?
John: Some of the cooler fests we’ve done, I guess I would say. Pinacle moments like the Wacken fest, Graspop fest, you know, stuff like that. The 1998 Milwaukee Metal Fest, where they tore down the railing and shit like that. It’s kind of been the same through the years. It’s death metal, you know, it’s not mainstream. It’s never going to get big…huge [laughs].
Trey: All the bands that came before, you know, new stuff too…to a degree, you know, that pushes you to learn a new technique or try to freshen up your sound a little bit.
Raise the bar…
Trey: Yeah, I mean, all bands I guess are ultimate products of their influences. So yeah, all the old death metal bands, the grinds of course. The Suffos, the Obituaries, the Deicides, the Malevolent Creations, you know? That’s pretty much what has inspired Dying Fetus.
Some people seem to have a problem with the idea of mixing political subject matter with a death metal sound. What’s your take on that viewpoint?
John: Yeah, that’s one kind of thing that’s kind of evolved through the years. We started off more as a gore band or whatever, but…when Jason got into college we started to write more interesting lyrics, more social lyrics to spice things up. People grow up. Sometimes, you know, just talking about chopping up bodies and waving entrails doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s been done. Cannibal does it well and it gets boring talking about chopping up a dead corpse. Slayer did it back with Hell Awaits, with “Necrophiliac” or whatever. Back in, what was it? 1984? What year is it now? You know, it’s nothing new so we decided to go in a different direction. Some people don’t like it, most people do, you know and me, personally, I’m not a political person. It’s not my thing, but our fans enjoy it so they get what they want.
What’s the story behind the cover art for the Descend Into Depravity record?
Trey: I think, basically what happened was…the people at Relapse who do their art direction over there, sent us some previews of what they thought the album would look like visually and we saw it, and we said “That’s cool!”. That’s generally what happens. The label looks at the lyrics and they get ideas for the artwork.
John: After this tour, we’re going back to Europe to a bunch of fests…some shows in Spain with Suffocation. Playing two separate days on Deathfeast. We’re going to Europe a couple of different times to do festivals and some one-off shows here and there. Then, in Fall we’re going to Australia and New Zealand again with Napalm Death, which will probably tie into some Asia shows, maybe even Hawaii. There’s nothing confirmed there, all we can confirm right now is Australia and New Zealand…maybe some South America stuff a little bit later in the year. In November, some North American dates that we can’t officially talk about right now, but other than that, we’re just staying busy! We’re trying to tour as much as we can, promote the album and bring the band into a better light, a better limelight, you know, try to be out there as much as possible.
Alright, that’s about all the time I’ve got. I’d like to thank you both for your time. Any last words you would like to add?
John: [Laughs] Go to relapse records.com. Check out dying fetus.com or myspace/dying fetus if you haven’t heard about us yet, but want to check it out. You can listen to the songs on the myspace page, just like anybody’s and check out our music videos. We’ve got two for our latest album. Come out to a show, come and say hello…and support death metal.
Band photos by: SweetCorrosion Photography