Fit For An Autopsy, Thy Art Is Murder, Malevolence // The Aggression Sessions // EP Review


2016 saw the release of one of the best split EP’s in modern metal.

“The Depression Sessions” released by Nuclear Blast saw Fit For An Autopsy, Thy Art Is Murder & The Acacia Strain come together to create some new & brutal tracks.

Now in 2023 Nuclear Blast brings us the sequel “The Aggression Sessions”. Back once again are the titans of metalcore Fit For An Autopsy & Thy Art Is Murder, and now featuring the spin-kicking bad boys that is Malevolence.

Featuring new tracks from each band & some seminal covers let’s unpack this mammoth of a split, shall we.

First up Fit For An Autopsy. Since the band’s release of “The Great Collapse” in 2017 the band’s sound has evolved & has now become one of the most consistent bands in the metalcore genre to push the envelope. “The Sea of Tragic Beasts” & last year’s “Oh What the Future Holds” has catapulted the band’s sonic assault into the dark, apocalyptic realm.

“Hellions” feels like the natural progression from “Oh What the Future Holds” but also is strong enough to stand alone. Josean Orta’s drumming on this track is on point as always. A technical master that is able to keep the drumming & ridiculous rhythms he plays organic & thick.

The three-prong attack from Pat Sheridan, Will Putney & Tim Howley yet again shows just how brilliant the writing team the band has. Interesting & complex riffing while still keeping that FFAA groove that the band now makes great statements with. Still bringing elements of 00’s metalcore like Disembodied, Martyr AD & All Out War with little dissonant chord hits & technical ear-catching riffs.

Vocalist Joe Badolato is still ungodly as ever. The vocal range of Joe on record & live is incredible. With this track, he’s been able to push it a little further. Some of the lowest gutturals we’ve heard from him & some standout lyrical ideas. A chorus hook that is reintroduced on the breakdown that caps the track off so nicely.

And talking about breakdowns, it still baffles me how FFAA can write a breakdown in 2023 that still feels new & unlike anything else. “Hellions” is yet another example of just how brilliant FFAA has become in the last 10 years. Whatever they do next will blow everyone off the face of the earth i can assure you that.

Next up is the now legendary Aussies Thy Art Is Murder with “Until There Is No Longer”. It has been some time since we heard any new material from Thy Art. 2019 saw the release of “Human Target” release, which was fantastic.

Later the next year in 2020 the band released a stand alone single “Killing Season” which carried on the sound the band carved within “Human Target”.  Now within their newest track “Until There Is No Longer” it feels like the band are taking a nice step forward. Still keeping their architple sound but adding more blackened elements. A mix of modern Behemoth & Dimmu Borgir with the syncopated metalcore rhythms this track is something new & exciting for the band.

Guitarists Sean Delander & Andy Marsh have been able to create some of the most memorable riffs & melodic sections in the band’s history. Super tight chugging sections & long strumming melodies blend super well within the track.

CJ McMahon’s vocal abilities are still strong as ever. Showcasing his wheelhouse of high screams & low growls, When there’s a new Thy Art track you know CJ won’t ever let you down.

If “Until There Is No Longer” is a projection of what the band has in store for the rest of 2023 with hopefully a new album then the direction they are taking is much welcomed!

And now for something for something a little different…

The band that can’t be pinned down & hot off the release of the best metal album in 2022’s “Malicious Intent”, Malevolence are back with another banger of a track. After extensive touring pretty much worldwide since the album’s release the band have blown up & its well deserved.

So releasing another new track for the newcomer fans foaming at the mouth for new material “Waste Of Myself” gives you what you need. The most Crowbar & Pantera feeling track in the bands catalogue this track is full off groove. Brutality & catchy hooks. 3 for 3 which the band has become pretty much perfect at writing.

The track feels like the most Alex Taylor lead track in some time. Talking at a nice forefront. A real showcase for his under-appreciated vocal talents.

In conjunction with Konan Hall’s low sultry tones, giving us the modern Kirk Windstein, Konan now feels like his vocal ability has no became the perfect signature to the bands overall sound & now i feel like has shined so well over the past few releases his vocal abilities feel well rounded & feels like a integral part to the bands identity.

Josh Baines’ lead playing on this track also shows just how overlooked he is in modern metal. Baines is one of the most talented lead players right now & his use of lead sections in this track helps it follow so naturally & gives Malevolence the sprinkle of spice that keeps them above all the rest within the metal scene right now.

Another fantastic track from the band & just shows how energetic & strong the UK metal scene is right now! Big things to come with these guys!

Now for the part that got me really excited when I saw the press release for this split. The cover tracks.

“Under A Serpent Sun” (At The Gates) being covered by FFAA just feels perfect. If you have ever listened to FFAA you can feel the heavy influence of melodeath bands like At The Gates & In Flames so this track feels like a perfect fit. Also going with a huge track like this & i feel more underappreciated gives the band a chance to showcase the influences so well. Still keeping to the true sound of the original this track is the beefest it will ever sound. Superb recording & mixing by the ever fantastic Will Putney.

The stand out for me on this cover is getting to hear Badolato’s vocals in one tone. Which doesn’t happen often in FFAA’s music. It’s a nice melding of his own vocal tone & Tomas Lindberg’s. This track honestly feels like this is what At The Gates would sound like if they formed in the late 00’s. It’s a perfect & well chosen cover!

TAIM’s pick is the historical “Hammer Smashed Face” by Cannibal Corpse. Now if you are a death metal or even metalcore fan there is a high probability that “Hammer Smashed Face” was one of the first extreme metal tracks you heard. So the fact that TAIM has chosen this feels right at home.

The first time i heard the track i thought “how have TAIM somehow made one of the hardest & brutal tracks of all time even heavier”. And I still don’t know how. The track still has that classic Cannibal tone but it feels a bit more tighter & precise. The band have still kept the original sound but havent imitated the original which gives it a nice feel. This is by far the best “Hammer Smashed Face” cover I have heard to date.

Last on the split is something very exciting. Malevolence have always been a band who take risks & do things on their terms, so hearing they would be covering the classic 00’s banger “Left Outside Alone” by Anastacia at first piqued my interest by truly thinking about the choice it feels like the perfect fit for them.

After revisiting the original you realise how much rock is infused into it. The track feels more at home with Bon Jovi than in the pop spectrum.

Here the Malev boys turn it to 11 & make it more epic & bring more heart & soul to it. Konan steals the show & gives his best vocal performance with the band to date. The choice of switching out a few lyrics which is a great idea, giving notes to “Serpents Chokehold” was a great nod to the OG fans. Now it’s unlikely but I can see this cover going over amazingly live with the fantastic performance the band has become known for over recent years. An oddball track but one the band have made their own, Hell they even gave the track a breakdown section. Spinkicks & pushpits to Anastacia who would have thought it ah?

“Depression Sessions” was a fantastic surprise release but “The Aggression Sessions” has been able to surpass it, with 3 top notch new tracks from each band & some of the best covers i’ve heard in a long time this is MUST listen for sure! The perfect coming together of different metal genres to create something beautifully heavy.

Joseph Mitchell

The Aggression Sessions is out via Nuclear Blast Records on 07th April 2023


1. Hellions 4:13
2. Until There Is No Longer 3:41

3. Waste Of Myself 3:21
4. Under A Serpent Sun 3:57
5. Hammer Smashed Face 4:04

6. Left Outside Alone 4:37

Nuclear Blast Records