ARTIST: FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY
TITLE: THE SEA OF TRAGIC BEASTS
LABEL: NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
2019 is surely the year of Will Putney. Having produced some absolute corkers such as Knocked Loose’s A Different Shade of Blue, Stray From The Path’s Internal Atomics, and Counterparts’ Nothing Left To Love he is without a doubt the busiest man in heavy music, and yet has still found the time to write, record and produce for his own band with what may become one of the defining albums of deathcore with Fit For An Autopsy’s brand new masterpiece The Sea of Tragic Beasts.
It might not be the most brutal album in the genre, but then that has never been what Fit For An Autopsy have been about, instead preferring to draw inspiration from the wider realm of metal, focusing on amazing the listener with complex music rather than simply non-stop blastbeats – indeed this album shares more in common with Tool than it does any of the traditional deathcore stereotypes, with irregular time signatures, soaring guitars, detailed drum patterns as the order of the day, culminating in a unique sonic atmosphere that essentially transcends the genre entirely.
” a unique sonic atmosphere that essentially transcends the genre ENTIRELY”
The theme of tragedy running throughout the album also differs this record from the traditional themes of anger and hatred that have defined deathcore during the genre’s long and controversial history, but lyrically as well as musically the band have always attempted to widen the scope of deathcore and death metal, into the full scope of human emotion. ‘Mourn’ is a true tragic song, of discussion about life for those who survive the deceased; asking “will they mourn for me?” and wondering if the dead are simply forgotten, which is a much greater tragedy than death is on its own. If you are not mourned then surely you never left much of an impression in life, and that is a much more tragic outcome than any kind of violent or early death where it is obvious at least that people care due to the outpouring of emotion that emerges after these bereavements.
Frontman Joe Badolato’s vocals are superb on ‘The Sea of Tragic Beasts’, fully encapsulating the emotion in Putney’s lyrics and translating them to the audience with his impressive array of screams, growls and yells in a manner that is almost resonant of actors performing Shakespeare’s own tragedies – the listener is forced to feel and empathise with the emotion of the music, because there is a desperation to his tone that emphasises the delivery of the lyrics and creates feelings of true helplessness, especially in the album closer ‘Napalm Dreams,’ which demonstrates Badolato at his most vulnerable. As the screams of “All I wanted was a way out” fade out with the ending of the album it leaves behind a sense of loss, and a wave of sadness that correspond with that fear of being trapped.
“There is truly no term that better summarises this album than awe-inspiring”
It could be argued rather successfully that the eponymous tragic beasts in the sea are humans, drowning in a flood of sorrow and anguish but struggling to release this in a way that doesn’t result in anger and violence. Certainly a close listen leaves no choice but to examine oneself for these tragic traits, and while it may be a departure from their previous lyrics that examined the condition of the world politically and environmentally, this is no less of a conscientiously minded album, it is simply introspective and examining the condition of humanity on a personal level rather than a global one.
There is truly no term that better summarises this album than awe-inspiring.