OBITUARY, following closely behind the band Death, have long been the leaders for the death metal movement. Their first four albums (Slowly We Rot, Cause of Death, The End Complete and World Demise) are arguably the releases which define the genre and have influenced the countless bands that followed them.
Following a hiatus around the turn of the millennia, the band came back stronger than ever and their last two tours of the UK have shown that as a live outfit they simply cannot be beaten - who remembers them blowing away headliners Carcass every night on the Deathcrusher tour of 2015?
It is with this history, both distant and recent, that the next chapter in the Obituary novel is very highly anticipated. The self-titled LP due for release on March 17th is the bands 10th studio offering and fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for it to hit the record store shelves.
Having listened to the album numerous times now whilst putting my thoughts on paper I must say it’s a stunner. Maybe not quite the genre defining albums from the first four releases, but certainly their best output since then!
Opening with track Brave it’s like 1992 all over again. Fast paced and hard hitting its one hell of a start for the Tampa Bay quintet. The Kenny Andrews guitar solo is short but sweet, perfectly placed and implemented in this 2-minute starter. Sentence Day picks up where Brave left off another short 2-and-a-half-minute number highlighting Kenny's guitar skills but also the quality of Trevor Perez, one of the corner stones of the band.
To slow things down just a tad, Lesson in Vengeance adds a dose of heavy! Drum intro from the ever-reliable Don Tardy and the weight added by Terry Butlers bass line. Thunderous is the best way to describe this anthem.
End It Now strips things back to the bare bones, a tune carried by John Tardy’s vocals the personification of death metal growling. Kneel Before Me has a darker feel to it both lyrically and musically, taking you to visions of your childhood nightmares. It Lives follows and carries on in the same vein but darker still! Don’s bass drum kicking in to accompany that extra deep bassline that’ll rattle you to your core.
Betrayed has a more modern death metal flavour too it. A harrowing echo on John’s vocal and a fresher twist to Trevor’s guitars enhances the traditional Obituary sound for a more modern scene. Turned to Stone is similar in style, the longest track on the album and one of my many personal standouts.
The pace of this album continues into the last two tracks Straight To Hell and Ten Thousand Ways To Die. The songs round the album out nicely, anthemic death metal at its very finest. Whilst this isn’t Obituary returning to their peak, it’s hard for any band to recreate 90’s success in the modern day, it certainly is the bands best offering for two decades. A great way to accompany their return to form in the live arena, no die-hard fan can turn their nose up at this long player!
Obituary release their self titled new album on March 17th through Relapse Records