DB HOF NO. 89
The making of Dying Fetus’s “Destroy the Opposition”
What started out as a hobby between friends—principally guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher and bassist/vocalist Jason Netherton—in ’93, eventually turned into a career- and genre-defining powerhouse six years later. Though at the time, the Maryland-based outfit would be hard-pressed to believe it. Essentially, Dying Fetus were like most underground death metal acts of the day, releasing albums on small-fry labels—both debutPurification Through Violence and follow-up Killing on Adrenaline had very little promotion—and gigging on the weekend like guys who didn’t want to sacrifice the security of a regular paycheck. But that all changed once Dying Fetus started work on Destroy the Opposition.
At the time, Gallagher, Netherton and drummer Kevin Talley wanted to up Adrenaline’s proverbial ante. With Talley’s proficient blasting and perfect pocket swing, songwriter Gallagher saw a chance to push up from regional confines and zine-only accolades. When guitarist John “Sparky” Voyles (ex- Sadistic Torment) replaced Brian Latta in the lineup, next-gen Dying Fetus was complete. So, the newly-formed quartet hunkered down in basements and bedrooms across Annapolis to begin what would be Dying Fetus’ most influential work to date. Their dilemma? To follow the DIY path of Killing on Adrenaline or sign on to a prominent indie—basically, Relapse or Necropolis. While recording Destroy the Opposition with producer Steve Carr at Hit + Run Studios, Dying Fetus inked a three-album deal with Relapse in ’00.
With Relapse at the promotional helm and DF ready for anything, the group’s new album opened new doors not just for young kids who reveled in polished extremity, but for the band. It would be the first time Dying Fetus had national distribution, and with it, clout. As for long-timers, they were initially off put by the clear production, but they came around. Moored by “Pissing in the Mainstream” and leadoff track “Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses),” the album was an unheard-of laser-focused amalgamation of styles. It was the sign of the times, the way forward. But the reason Dying Fetus and Destroy the Opposition are entering the Hall of Fame isn’t down to wow factor or Relapse’s then tome-like press packet. Destroy the Opposition is a fantastic zeitgeist record. Hook-laden, blast-filled and groove-oriented, Dying Fetus’ third would turn out to be positively influential, a handbook for genre-blend bands popular at the present.
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