Admittedly, Fit for an Autopsy has never been one of my go-to deathcore bands when I'm in the mood for something heavy. I thought The Process of Human Extermination (the band's previous release) was very solid, but the production really brought the album down a few pegs. It was actually produced by guitarist Will Putney around the same time as another release (Divided By by Structures) that had some production/mixing issues. This time around, however, Putney got it right and the production on the album is huge, making Hellbound – the band's second full length – sound much better in every way imaginable.
Vocalist Nate Johnson is the proud owner of some of deathcore's gnarliest vocals and he has improved quite a bit in the past two years. Everything – the lows, the mids, the highs – sounds more pissed off than before, and the use of the typical deathcore "URGH/UGH" heard several times on Hellbound is a surprising and excellent merit. Additionally, the lyrics seem filled with hate – creating an even more pissed-off vibe.
Another thing that there is a lot of on Hellbound is guest vocals. CJ McMahon (Thy Art is Murder) is heard frequently on the album's lead single, "Still We Destroy"; Vincent Bennett (The Acacia Strain) contributes to an extremely heavy finish to "Children of the Corn Syrup"; and there are a few other vocalists featured in the middle part of the album. All of these vocalists – especially Vincent Bennett, who I will briefly expand on later – do an amazing job.
Instrumentally, Hellbound is strikingly similar to Thy Art is Murder's Hate. You can think of this as a positive or a negative, but I am definitely a huge fan. Hellbound is an extremely heavy and crushing deathcore release that also displays a few moments of not-so-calming ambience on "Do You See Him?" and "Still We Destroy." With that being said, the outro of "There is Nothing Here Worth Keeping" is actually quite soothing, and aside from the intro of the album, it's the only chance that you actually get to take a breather. Then you get thrown right back into the thick of things: angry vocals, blast beats galore and breakdowns coupled with 100 cymbal hits. Speaking of the cymbal, it sounds incredible on this album, especially during the final breakdown of "Tremors." Adding some more variety, there is a handful of solos on Hellbound. Despite only lasting for about 10 seconds and following a fairly typical scale pattern, the aforementioned solos are impressive; sometimes they are fast ("We Still Destroy" and "The Travelers"), but other times they are slow and very climactic ("Dead in the Dirt").
There is never a dull moment in the album's 37-minute playtime, but there are a few tracks that really stand out. "There is Nothing Here Worth Keeping," as I mentioned before, provides you with a nice break, but it also features extremely fast-paced verses that would be perfect for circle pits. "Children of the Corn Syrup" is another very fast song...until the final minute, that is. After things slow down a bit, Bennett comes in and lays waste to humanity. I'm not usually one to put a breakdown on a pedestal, but the one at the end of this track may be one of the best and heaviest I have heard in my life.
Hellbound is one of the angriest, most pissed-off releases of 2013. That's all there is to it. If you're into heavy music and you haven't listened to Fit for an Autopsy before, I strongly recommend checking them out and supporting them. You can start by purchasing this masterpiece when it hits the shelves on September 10.
For Fans Of: Thy Art is Murder, And Hell Followed With, Molotov Solution