This upcoming Tuesday sees the release of Dying Fetus‘ seventh studio album Reign Supreme, which comes out via Relapse Records. In anticipation of this hard-hitting slab of brutality, Bloody-Disgusting caught up with guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher to discuss the latest album, future plans for the band, and John’s thoughts on horror, including some of his favorite flicks! You can read this exclusive interview below.
One of the most well known names in the death metal genre, Dying Fetus formed in 1991 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Through years of dedicated touring and album releases, the band has amassed a worldwide devoted following. Years of member changes make John Gallagher the only original remaining member.
You can pre-order Reign Supreme here.
Bloody-Disgusting: How are you doing sir?
John Gallagher: Same old kind of stuff. Everything’s cool. Just getting ready for this tour. We’re doing some headlining shows, some with Six Feet Under in the States. It’s not a very long tour, three weeks or so. But mixed in we’re doing some European festivals. It’s a little hectic. Gotta fly back and forth a couple of times. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?
So yeah, getting geared up for all that. I’m about to meet up with the guys to practice one more time before we head out.
BD: Speaking of all the touring, are there any plans after all these dates?
JG: We’re doing a full headline tour in Europe in the fall. It’s gonna be us headlining with Job For A Cowboy and Revocation along with Cerebral Bore as openers. So we’ve got that booked. Don’t have anything else confirmed at the moment. In the fall season, we’ve submitted ourselves for a couple of support slots. So we’ll see how things go?
BD: First of all, as you’re the only original member of Dying Fetus now, tell me about Reign Supreme and how you view it in the history and legacy of the band.
JG: Well, we’re looking at 20 years doing this stuff. So, to me, it’s just another album. Our label and management kinda came up with a bunch of titles and they thought this one could symbolize twenty years of being a death metal band and still doing it. I thought, “Whatever, that’s cool.” But there’s not big meaning or anything like that with the name. For me, it’s just another album. It’s a very strong album, I think. I’m happy with it and I can honestly say that I’ve put everything I have into this album. I wrote the music to all the songs, spent countless hours on this shit. I did the best I could do, so there we have it.
BD: Do you feel that Reign Supreme offers something that earlier records haven’t been able to?
JG: There’s more melodic soloing. There’s a bit more variety in this album, I would say. The song “In The Trenches” is a complete hardcore song. If anyone knows me, they know that I like hardcore. The stuff I like is the more, I guess you would call it, old hardcore.
Then you got “Revisionist Past”, which has a bit of a thrash feel. It’s got a kind of black metal solo over it, a bit melodic.
So I tried to put a bit more variety into this album without going too crazy one way or the other. Of course there are more traditional songs, like “Subjected To A Beating”, which is what people would expect from Dying Fetus, I guess. I would say there’s a little bit of everything for most metal guys in this record.
BD: The band has been around since the very early 90’s. In that time, the Internet has dramatically changed the music industry landscape. How do you feel that it affected you?
JG: I think it’s beneficial to everything. It’s benefited us. Everyone can check shit out by sharing links, YouTube, the typical stuff we all do now. It’s being exposed to more bands, more music. It can over saturate things, I guess. But for us? It’s been beneficial. I couldn’t see how it wouldn’t be. We’ve never sold a million albums in the past anyways, so it’s not like pirating has killed us for album sales.
We’ve got a lot of “likes” on our Facebook, so it’s cool to keep in touch with our fans, let them know what’s up, keep them posted on what’s going on.
Of course, there are lame parts. Every asshole in the world can get on there and throw their two cents in. But, whatever, we all know everyone has an opinion.
BD: With a name like Dying Fetus and the plethora of horror imagery that the band has put out, it’s obvious that there is, if not a love, at least a deep appreciation for horror. So, I’m curious, why do you think horror and metal work so well together?
JG: It goes hand in hand. With extreme music, this ugly music, especially the kind that we play, it’s not pretty. It’s brutal and ugly and horror often has that in the visual aspect.
It’s definitely been going on for a while. You look at Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper, they brought a lot of elements of horror into hard rock. It’s like that peanut butter and jelly combination.
For brutal music, you want to have a pretty brutal visual. So yeah, that’s just how it goes. You could have rainbows and pretty things but I don’t think the effect would be as good [laughs].
But I love horror man! Before I knew what death metal was, before it was created, when I was a kid, I’m gonna be forty soon, I grew up in the 80’s and all that crazy horror was coming out and I was loving it! I was begging my mother to take me to the video store so I could rent a beta tape!
I would love to keep the horror imagery going with Dying Fetus without taking it too far. Some bands go with the extreme gore but we don’t want to be that blatant. We certainly want to have that element though.
BD: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
JG: I like the crazy ones like Junior, Dr. Giggles, the ones that have a little bit of fun in them! Toxic Avenger, Madman, Masoleum, Don’t Go In The Woods, all the Friday the 13ths, Halloween, Mother’s Day, I Spit On Your Grave, all that shit! It’s all just so much fun. It seemed like you could get away with a lot more shit back in those days with the humor. But yeah, stuff like that. Oh yeah, Dr. Butcher M.D.! That was killer! That was the shit I wanted to see. It’s always a good time with that!
BD: John, it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you. Best of luck with Reign Supreme and the upcoming tours!
JG: Right on! Thanks a lot and take care bro!
Reign Supreme track list:
1. “Invert the Idols”
2. “Subjected to a Beating”
3. “Second Skin”
4. “From Womb to Waste”
6. “In the Trenches”
7. “Devout Atrocity”
8. “Revisionist Past”
9. “The Blood of Power”
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