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Dying Fetus is an Americanmarker death metal band, known for their outspoken political views, and for being one of the few death metal bands who follow a political nature. Earlier lyrics showcased graphically gory themes.

Constant line-up changes throughout the years have left John Gallagher the only remaining original member. The band's sound is characterized by blast beats, complex riffing and hardcore-inspired breakdowns. The vocals range from very low death growls to more abrasive upper-throat screams.


Beginnings (1991–1996)

Dying Fetus formed in late 1991 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, by John Gallagher (guitar, vocals) and Jason Netherton (bass, vocals). The band began in earnest when the pair met up with guitarist/vocalist Nick Speleos in 1992. During a year of practicing it was decided that Gallagher would fill in on drums until a proper drummer was found. The writing of this period resulted in the 1993 demo Bathe In Entrails In late 1993, the band found drummer Rob Belton, as well as guitarist Brian Latta, who replaced the departed Nick Speleos, which also thrusted John Gallagher back into the role of guitarist and vocalist. Together the new four-piece lineup recorded the Infatuation with Malevolence demo in early 1994, later released together with the first demo in 1995 as a compilation on California Indie label Wild Rags Records. Songs included all tracks from both demos as one CD.

In 1996, the band released their first album, Purification through Violence, on short lived Illinois label Pulverizer Records. The album marked a further refinement of the band's developing sound of death metal riffing, combined with hardcore inspired breakdowns/mosh riffs, over seven original songs, and one Napalm Death cover, "Scum". Drummer Rob Belton left and the band was joined briefly in 1995 for a year by drummer Casey Buckler, with whom they performed live, yet never recorded with.

Rise to underground prominence (1996–2000)

With no promotion and no label, Dying Fetus toured off and on, sporadically, for 4 years straight starting in summer 1996 with their first full US tour alongside Kataklysm and Monstrosity, with the first appearance of future drummer Erik Sayenga as drummer replacing Casey Buckler. However by 1997, Erik Sayenga had left the band, and after a short Texas tour in May 1997, drummer Kevin Talley joined full-time in the summer of 1997. At this point, the band had caught the attention of German indie label Morbid Records, who signed them early in 1998 for a one-album deal. Almost immediately afterwards, the band released their 2nd album, Killing on Adrenaline.

Morbid Records supplied the band with promotion in the death metal underground, and the band subsequently rose to slightly higher prominence, yet the band's live performances still gained them the most attention. However, guitarist Brian Latta left the band in late 1998, ushering in new guitarist “Sparky” Voyles, and in 1999 the band embarked on their first headlining tour of the US, over three weeks dubbed the "Underground Terrorism" tour. The tour was followed shortly thereafter by the Grotesque Impalement EP, which the band released on their Blunt Force Records label imprint.

Relapse records, new lineups (2000–2003)

By 2000, Dying Fetus caught the attention of another underground metal label, the indie company Relapse Records, who subsequently signed the band. To date, all Dying Fetus albums have been on Relapse Records.

Once more returning to Steve Carr's Maryland Hit and Run Studios (where every Dying Fetus album has been recorded), Dying Fetus recorded in the spring of 2000 their Relapse debut, Destroy the Opposition. Unlike earlier Dying Fetus albums, this one features even stronger political themes. The album is widely considered their best, and cited as a death metal classic.

However, following the release of Destroy the Opposition, original member Jason Netherton left the band for personal reasons, and thereafter guitarist Voyles and drummer Talley left the band only months after the album's release (they since went on to form the band Misery Index). Gallagher recruited guitarist Mike Kimball, singer Vince Matthews, bassist/backup singer Sean Beasley, and the returning Eric Sayenga on drums.

With the new lineup, the band released their 4th album, Stop at Nothing, in 2003, another album featuring Carr’s production and strong political themes. A promotional video was shot for the track “One Shot, One Kill”.

Five members, return to form (2003-present)

Dying Fetus toured extensively for Stop at Nothing, and got airplay for the music video for "One Shot, One Kill" on Headbanger's Ball. Another tool that led to exposure of the band was more mainstream metal attention of Relapse Records (with acts such as Mastodon gaining popularity), as well as a full North American tour with GWAR in 2005. However, the Stop at Nothing lineup dissolved slightly in the years that followed as drummer Erik Sayenga parted yet again, and singer Vince Matthews went on to form Criminal Element. However, Dying Fetus came back yet again, bassist Beasely took over on vocals, and drummer Duane Timlin (ex-Divine Empire/Broken Hope) joined the ranks in 2006.

That lineup then recorded War of Attrition, which was released in March 2007. Themes include attacking reality TV, the war on terrorism, racial ignorance, and the flaws in the criminal justice system. Songs include “Homicidal Retribution,” “Raping the System” and “Parasites of Catastrophe.” Dying Fetus’ second music video was made for “Homicidal Retribution.”

Yet another lineup change occurred on the Dying Fetus front in July 2007: drummer Duane Timlin was fired due to incompatibilities. The newest drummer for the band is Trey Williams. Mike Kimball has also left the band.

On June 4, 2009 Dying Fetus announced the title of their seventh album, Descend into Depravity, which was released September 15, 2009. Descend into Depravity will be released by Relapse Records.


The band has cited Suffocation, Deicide, Obituary, and Cannibal Corpse as the prime influence in their sound. Frontman John Gallagher has also stated in interviews that he is a fan of early hardcore.


Current members

  • John Gallagher - vocals, guitar (1991 - present)
  • Sean Beasley - vocals, bass (2001 - present)
  • Trey Williams - drums (2007 - present)

Former members

  • Nick Speleos - guitar/vocals
  • Brian Latta - guitar
  • Rob Belton - drums
  • Jason Netherton - bass/vocals
  • Kevin Talley - drums
  • "Sparky" Voyles - guitar
  • Eric Sayenga - drums
  • John Longstreth - drums (tour only)
  • Derek Boyer - bass (tour only)
  • Vince Matthews - vocals
  • Duane Timlin - drums
  • Mike Kimball - guitar





  • Grotesque Impalement (1999) Blunt Force
  • Split 7" with Deep Red (2001) Relapse Singles Series


  • Bathe in Entrails demotape (1993)
  • Infatuation with Malevolence demotape (1994)


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