Mancunian Death Metal Legends Foetal Juice continue on their mission “to corrupt the underground with its feast of deliciously graceless, diabolically grim and downright pustular, pissed-off noise.” With their latest offering, the eleven-track, forty-one-minute Grotesque, they say that “it turned out far better than we ever imagined it would.”
Foetal Juice – Grotesque (Gore House Productions)
Release Date: 17 November 2023
Words: Jools Green
“Everyone has brought their A-game to the table with this one, ” Foetal Juice said, and I agree with them. I think it’s a success on all points.
They explained further that “due to the lockdowns during Covid, Ryan, the main songwriter/guitarist, has churned out hundreds of riffs and song ideas, which has meant we could be a lot more selective with choosing the final ideas than we would normally be able to. This has really helped us to find the best riffs and ideas to use on this album.”
Most importantly, there is no shortage of Foetal Juice dark humour and vulgarities contained within this release. As far as I’m concerned, this is a vital part of their charm.
Grotesque is heavily influenced by dark English humour, immediately noticeable in both the track titles and lyrics on this album. As with their past releases, you either get the humour, or you don’t. But make no mistake, they are very serious when it comes to their music content and quality.
This time around, they have pushed their abilities further by introducing speeds and techniques they haven’t used in the past. The result, I think, is impressive.
Opening on Human Beach Master, it’s inspired by the style of the attention-grabbing openers Vader does on all their albums. A track to grab you by the throat and make sure you are listening. It’s a superb piece, an intense, driving pounder and with a very catchy repeat.
Lyrically, it’s about fat men who take their tops off to fight. They explain, “making them look like Beach Masters (Walrus) fighting in a David Attenborough documentary. It’s pretty much a description of that happening. Two massive human Walrus fighting for the attention of a woman who couldn’t give a shit.” Let’s face it, that’s a pretty hilarious scenario.
Mountain Of Gore is another one to raise a wry smile on your face. Lyrically, it’s about two disgusting people involved in “intimate relations with each other.” Soundwise, after a groovy, almost sleazy, but hugely engaging intro, it switches into a full-throttle, aggressive driver. It’s insanely fast, hugely engaging and catchy. It is guaranteed to bring juvenile giggles over the lyrics. Or is that just me?
Legion Of The Grotesque, inspired by their love of Angel Corpse, opens with an insanely addictive riff. This has a very sinister undertone to it, which I love. On top of that, it’s also a hugely varied piece that seamlessly switches constantly and that riff gets regularly revisited, too. It is a brilliantly memorable track that will generate some exciting pits when performed live. Lyrically, it’s another observational number about the increasing number of people who overuse cosmetic surgery and turn themselves into something disgusting.
Ghoul Amongst The Mouldering Dead is a wonderfully punchy chugger with regular, intense bursts of riffing and a lovely bounce to the construct. It’s the main single of the release because it’s the track Foetal Juice all enjoy playing the most. That is a good enough reason as far as I’m concerned.
Inspired once again by groovy gore bands, it’s catchy as hell, but lyrically, it’s a lot more serious than the previous pieces. “It’s about the soldiers in the First World War who were stuck in no man’s land, having to eat the flesh of the dead to survive.” They also feel it’s the song that represents them the best on this album, drawing on aspects of all of their influences from old Death Metal, Grind, Black Metal to Gore-laden groove and ferocious stabs. Ultimately, the most important thing is that it is an excellent listen, powerfully raw and well protracted in the vocal department and musically very dynamic.
The title and lyrical inspiration behind the next piece, Two Bongs Don’t Make a Right, had me roaring with laughter. It’s about vocalist Derek not being able to smoke as much weed as he used to be able to and pulling a whitey. It’s a short, sharp grind song that absolutely gallops along. I love the sliding guitar squeals that pop up. A concise and entertaining piece.
Cunt Of The Litter is a great piece. Cannibal Corpse influenced, fast and driving but still maintaining the Foetal groove. The pace drops and builds fluidly, so it’s varied enough to keep your attention throughout.
Lyrically, it looks at a group of people known in the UK as Chavs. In particular, the one that is always shouting and starting fights with everyone. Foetal Juice explains, “It’s always the smallest one with short man syndrome for some reason. Much like the smallest dog in the litter, the runt of the litter (just one letter makes all the difference). It’s about how that guy should never have been born.” Harsh, but relatable.
It’s time to get gory and disgusting with Cemetery Leachate, which is one of the first songs they wrote for this album. This is a straightforward piece that packs a punch with a slight Motörhead influence, but again, it’s hugely engaging. Lyrically, it is about the juice that comes from dead bodies as they decay. So, it’s compelling and repelling simultaneously.
The Walking Groin is another that has that straightforward punch-packing style. This time, in the mould of the likes of Aborted and Vader, it is a bit more brutal than the predecessor. Lyrically inspired by, as the title suggests and the band confirm, “the type of sleazy guy that we all know who thinks he is amazing. He makes women feel like shit by being super sleazy and leaching onto them all the time. A male chauvinist pig who believes he is above everyone else when he is, in fact, a piece of shit.”
The pace pared back a little for Torn Apart, but there’s still an engaging drive and urgency about it. The title is pretty self-explanatory as to what the track is about.
F. K. E. O. which stands for “Fucking Kill Each Other”, is apparently a phrase their vocalist Derek came out with randomly on the main stage at Bloodstock Festival. This made the band laugh, as most bands tell the fans to “look after each other in the pit.” They needed the music to be a good backing for a fight. You definitely get that vibe when you listen. It’s fast and intense, with a good old hammering from the drum department. With slick direction switching around midway, the lyrics obviously back that metaphoric concept up.
On Gruesome, the final and longest piece of the album at five minutes, Foetal Juice try something different. They add a clean intro, influenced by the film Lobster Man From Mars. It’s a great intro, a little bit eerie, a little bit sexy. There is an absolute shock to the system when the track suddenly cuts in after almost two minutes of being lulled into a false sense of safety.
Suddenly, you are confronted by a guttural roar and a wall of intense riffing. It doesn’t get more impactful than that. A great piece that sounds complex and has superb spiralling riffing.
Grotesque is an absolute maelstrom of sound that is satisfyingly punchy, chugging and impactful. It makes you want to hear more.