It could be said that three albums and one EP into their career, Fit for an Autopsy are one of the most consistent bands in deathcore. Note that “consistent” here does not mean the band is churning out the same stuff over and over again, but rather that they hold themselves to the same standard of quality with each release. Everything they’ve come out with so far has been great and is becoming more varied and dynamic with each new release, so not only is their foundation solid, they are making worthwhile additions on top of it. Their last album saw more post-rock elements bleeding into their gut-wrenchingly heavy sound while introducing new vocalist Joe Badolato into the fray. It garnered high praise from us, which makes it incredibly satisfying to let you know that their followup The Great Collapse is just as well-crafted as Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, continuing their streak of material held to a high standard of excellence.
The Great Collapse fulfills promises the band made with their last album, introducing more post-rock/desert rock elements while ratcheting up choruses, lyrics and songs in general to be more weighty in their content. As soon as the opener “Hydra” really kicks into gear, you’re strapped into a non-stop ride of something the band has down to a science: being pummeled into a fucking puddle of human mush regardless of how soft or hard a song is. On the hard end of the spectrum, Songs like “Iron Moon”, “Black Mammoth” and “Hydra” flay the flesh of the listener with the absurdly heavy chugs the band is known for, while throwing in riffs that tantalize the mind and an occasional mini-guitar solo here and there. The lyrical content of these tracks ranges from the crushing reality of selling your soul for a paycheck to the idea that we’re ruining our environment and people’s lives for the sake of someone else’s financial gain in this life (that latter song being “Black Mammoth”, which takes inspiration from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests). The environment is a major player in the lyrical themes of this record, going so far as to include bits and pieces of this speech from Leonardo DiCaprio discussing climate change at the UN in 2014. While other metal bands aim to create an atmosphere of sorrow or fear through their lyrics while using classic themes like gore and psychological horror, the band have gone the route of acts like Gojira and used something that we all have a hand in shaping: the future of our planet. There are other themes present throughout, but this one leaves its mark on the entirety of the album without even being present in every song.
The intention of every song on this record is not aimed to cut you in two, believe it or not. Well okay, there are some that just don’t do it right off the bat, but my point still stands. “When the Bulbs Burn Out”, “Empty Still” and the closer “Spiral” both have somber, more atmospheric sections that make the heavy parts seem even heavier. The songs don’t always need to have this level of variety, but it is interesting to hear a band who are so well established in being punishingly heavy switch to lighter takes on what it means to give a part weight, or for lack of a better word, oomph. If this trend continues for the band it would really be spectacular to see them evolve into something of a post-deathcore act that has these elements included in even more songs on their records. If that’s the direction this is all going, I think it will cement the band’s legacy without a doubt as it definitely makes a big impression on these songs.
As far as individual performances go, just like the last album, The Great Collapse sees Badolato once again steering this ship with a set of iron lungs that are not afraid to get to the heart of an issue while sounding damn good doing it. The echoing clean vocals that were on some of Absolute Hope Absolute Hell show up here and make choruses sound bigger and more robust than ever. This album doesn’t live up to the unreal amount of quotables from that album, but there are still plenty of gems throughout that have supreme shouting potential for when these songs are played live. Drummer Josean Orta deserves serious props for his performance on this album, as some of the best parts of these songs are hearing how the drums interact with the guitars, because if you thought the drums on the last album were thunderous, this album is a non-stop storm of booms. It’s also worth noting that the more quiet, somber parts are also handled well and sound tasteful when they are required to. Though not technically a performance aspect of this record, Will Putney has once again outdone himself with how this record sounds. It’s massive without being overly loud and there are a lot of layers that are ever present without feeling like the music is cluttered. It would make sense that he would really try to do the best job possible on his own band’s album, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
The Great Collapse is not just the best album that Fit for an Autopsy has put out to date, it’s also already in the running for deathcore album of the year. Even while coming down with the force of a hydraulic press, they still manage to have a deft sense of where to strike for maximum effect. Whether they’re decimating you with raw power or lulling you into a sense of security and safety before they crush every bone in your body, there is thought and care behind every move they make. The standard of quality they have set for themselves should not only apply to them, but to any band hoping to run alongside them. The Great Collapse is a band cementing their status as a paragon of heavy music in a tumultuous and fearful time where so many things seem to be heading—or have already headed—in the wrong direction.