Here lies a salutary lesson and one I have heeded. Do not judge a book by its cover…ever…unless it’s a map of course but then is that a book? Who knows? And would you please get the fuck on with this review please? Yes, of course, but have I finished this extensionist conversation with myself? Probably. Point being, if you look at the name of this band, you would, rightly, be coming to all sorts of conclusions as to what you would expect to find within. Firstly, there is the artwork which is straight out of the Anal Cunt/Blood Duster/Parasitic Ejaculation stables of over the top, gore drenched, sexualised nonsense that you hope (mostly) is not taking itself too seriously. And whilst you could slot Foetal Juice into the pornogrind/goregrind genre on this alone, this would, I believe, be doing the Mancunians a disservice entirely. Whilst these genres have had their central protagonists such as say early Carcass, Repulsion, Cattle Decapitation and Autopsy that have bled a trail in terms of musical endeavours, mostly the bands contained within this genre are at best, on occasion, merely competent but at worst, offensive, puerile and terrible.
I have the feeling that the artwork, plumage, moniker, artwork etc came during Foetal Juice’s infancy, whilst they were learning their trade and the accoutrements of this aforementioned genre were a convenient passport to a fanbase as they attempted to nail their entrails to this particular masthead and thus, find themselves safe harbour. I am labouring this point a little because on this, their second full length effort following on from 2016’s ‘Masters of Absurdity’, Foetal Juice have produced an album that is a highly effective, death metal, gore inflected collection of tunes, that are worthy of focus for the music alone. When you peel back the sticky veneer of the name/genre tropes, you have a damn fine death metal band.
Judging this purely on musicality, tracks such as ‘Carnage’, ‘Take Your Face For A Shit’ (giggles) and the monstrous ‘Manifestation Of Falsity’, these three songs alone, are brutal examples of some Death (the band) influenced death metal, that speed along at 100MPH, before slowing itself down and stomping around like a wounded wildebeest. Not a beatdown per se, but imagine the deliciously slowed down parts of the aforementioned Carcass, Napalm Death or Obituary (well it was all pretty dirge like thick molasses slowness anyway) where the foot lifts from the accelerator ever so slightly and the crunchy riffs pile in like a Stone Island wearing football hooligan after 6 pints of Stella Artois and a gram of Charlie Sheen.
Gluttony, is a very, very solid and at times excellent album, that grips, bites and keeps you interested for it’s duration, showing enough technical talent and song writing chops, as the tempo swerves around like two headed shark heading for a shoal of mackerel. It is all down to the songs, and whilst Foetal Juice are not exactly re-inventing the wheel here, this album contains songs that are percussive detonations of prime death metal that should appeal to all connoisseurs of this genre. The only negative thing I can think of (yes I know I am very much labouring the point), is that the name of the band, may limit the amount of people that find this album and those that do, may be expecting something else, and that something else is not what this is. It is where the stench of nominative determinism (loosely), in terms of the bands’ name, may work against them. Because if you’re expecting some worthless, comedic, gore/porno metal, then you’re going to be disappointed, because this album, is a statement of intent from a band that has created an album that is bordering on representing a state-of-the-art, UK death metal masterclass.
(8/10 Nick Griffiths)