11 Nov 2016

Fetid Zombie: "Grotesque Creation"

Grave concerns for the future of one of death metal's most prominent artists
Mark Riddick is by most considered a stable in black and death metal artwork, having made logos and artwork for more bands that you could count. His visual output is iconic and appalling in its stark white-on-black style, and while his main musical project Fetid Zombie has had a steady output since its inception - much like his drawings - the quality of which has shown to be of a quality more varying than his other endeavours.

At the very least Fetid Zombie's first three albums - Pleasures of the Scalpel, Vomiting in the Baptismal Pool and Carrion Christ - were great slabs of absolutely rotten death metal with everything that you could possibly want from it. Grotesque Creation, however, seems quite different. Previously Fetid Zombie had definite notes of heavy handed grindcore influences, but what was expected to be a grotesque death metal invocation instead relies not on festering tomb-invading riffs, but airey melodies over a heavy backdrop far in the background.

"the leading guitars seem too insubstantial and over-melodic for its own good,"

Perhaps Grotesque Creation was a bit too ambitious. The main foundation is for the most part lain in the usual manner with the heavy guitars working together with energetic drumming and bass to create a solid infrastructure, but the leading guitars seem too insubstantial and over-melodic for its own good, often bringing to attention the fact that Riddick is a visual artist first and a musical artist second. Especially the programmed drums seem jarringly obvious during especially melodic passages.

Tracks like Morbid Premonition work well with its strangely captivating choir and gruesome string work, but while this works well by itself it seems misplaced on the album as a whole. Fetid Zombie is, as mentioned, Riddick's primary musical outlet, but far from his only one as he is also involved in bands like Grave Wax, Macabra and Unburied, so perhaps Grotesque Creation is sign of death metal fatigue. The album drags on, with each lurch only prolonging its miserable existense. The songwriting is depthless, and precious few of Riddick's compositions can hold their own outside the confines of the album which in essence sounds more like a mix of Amon Amarth and Nocturnus than Fetid Zombie's previous efforts.


Released in 2015 on Metalhit


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