Fit For An Autopsy
Absolute Hope Absolute Hell
(eOne Music/Good Fight)
Hellbound, Fit for an Autopsy’s 2013 so-far magnum opus, served as my benchmark for deathcore. It wasn’t a perfect record, but it really nailed down how effectively a band could distill pure anger and aggression into sonic form. Plus, it contained plenty of actual riffs, and the breakdowns were more memorable because they were framed in the context of actual songs (novel ideas, right?), not just automatic filler every couple minutes. So to say I had high hopes for the New Jersey band’s third record would be an understatement. It took some time for its meat hooks to sink in all the way, but Absolute Hope Absolute Hell blows Hellbound out of the water.
Fit for an Autopsy smartly add a number of little details not only to help distance this record from previous albums but to help each song stand apart from each other. You’ll hear a big Gojira influence in this record, not just in the pick scrapes but also in the progressive atmosphere and songwriting. For a deathcore record, this is very melodic, not just in the guitar work. New vocalist Joe Badolato’s impressive range and clarity allows the band to take their sound down some unexpected journeys. Many of these songs are slow burners, ending in one hell of a conflagration. “Ghosts In the River” and “Swing the Axe” are particular stand-outs, with sections that would feel out of place in previous records. There’s singing and honest-to-goodness melodic interplay. The latter recalls personal favorites Slice the Cake with its progressive noodling until erupting into a climax worthy of a countdown to extinction.
That’s where Fit for an Autopsy shows off its growth. Sure, there are absolute bangers in here (“Saltwound” is particularly noteworthy), but by pushing their sound in new and exciting directions, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell comes across as the sound of a fantastic band only getting better. Hellbound was the standard-bearer for excellently angry deathcore. Now, the band has set its sights on expanding the sound, incorporating post-rock and progressive influences seamlessly. The band yet again elevates what deathcore should and could be. (Nicholas Senior)