By Denise FalzonDying Fetus have been part of death metal's elite for over 15 years, consistently releasing albums that adhere to their traditional hardcore-tinged extreme metal sound. The legendary Maryland band recently released their seventh album, Reign Supreme, and as founding member and guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher says in an interview with Exclaim!, the new record features some new elements, while retaining their classic approach.
"We just wanted [Reign Supreme] to be a broad album with a lot of different styles, without going too far away from what Dying Fetus do," he explains. "There are a couple songs that have something a little bit different. Some of the songs have some dark, melodic passages and some melodic soloing, it's not just shred all the way through it, so it's a little something extra for the fans. Hopefully everyone likes that stuff."
Gallagher adds that it's challenging to maintain the band's distinct Dying Fetus sound, while adding some new elements in order to progress as a band.
"Each riff is written individually and it's scrutinized, it's like, 'Okay, is this heavy enough? Is this brutal enough? Is this going to do what it needs to do?' And if it does we just file it away and when it comes time to construct songs we pull it out and see if it all works together.
"But it just has to stay death metal, we don't want to take things too far. It's cool to keep it interesting and to me this record, I would say is a little more simplistic, it's not as technical as some of the other ones. Usually, that's the way we do things, and the next album will be really technical. We don't want every album to be the same, so we'll probably switch it up, make it a little more tech with the next one."
Being the only original member left in the band, Gallagher explains that he's felt some pressure to retain parts of the sound the band started with back in 1991. "There's been times with drummers that weren't so great, and it was kind of like, 'Oh shit.' It makes it a little bit more challenging to make it sound really tight."
However, he says that the key to Dying Fetus being able to maintain their distinct, traditional sound is having himself there during the entire writing and recording process.
"With [Reign Supreme], I was a little more of a dictator, so to speak. I was a big part of the production, even for the simple sounds, snare drums and all the small sounds, I was really there for it, just making sure I was happy with it.
"I don't know everything, but I've been doing this for a while, so I know a little bit about death metal and what it should sound like. Really, for the vocals, as long as I've been doing the vocals, they're just the way they are, and the guitars, everything is pretty much the way it should be for Fetus, as long as I'm around."