Florida death metal pioneers Obituary are back at it again with their tenth studio album. The self-titled release via Relapse Records drops this March with a crushing blow to the eardrums of all nearby.
The cover is interesting, a metallic dragonesque creature perched as the “T” on their logo. Very matter of fact. You know who it is, and you know you want to hear it. Speaking of matter of fact, this pretty much sums up what this album is. It’s very straight to the point, just what you’re probably expecting from new Obituary. If you have expectations for something ripping, messy and quick, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’ve kept up with them enough to be familiar with their increasingly groovy sound then you’ll be satisfied with this record.
Yes, back in the day Obituary were one of the classic, straight up, filthy death metal bands that started it all. But, like most bands, they’ve changed their sound a bit with each album that comes out. Which isn’t a bad thing. I think evolution is beautiful when done in a way that’s pleasing to listen to. In my opinion, I think Obituary’s journey towards a groovier and groovier sound is a good one. For some, this album may not suit their tastes because no, it’s not as brutal, raw, and “old-school death metal” as their older stuff. But it’s heavy, brings the groove, and still has some of the same death metal elements that makes this band so great.
They don’t want to create a carbon copy of Slowly We Rot with each release and that’s fine and understandable. There are times where you want to hear that and times where you want to hear Frozen In Time.
I love the way Brave opens up. After a short instrumental build up and Tardy’s signature “OOH” a super melodic, incredibly pleasing riff leads us into the chorus. Sentence Day picks us up into a song that at first sounds similar to pretty much everything off Inked in Blood. But then throughout the rest of the song, there’s this melodic lead that carries you to the end and it sounds fucking fantastic. Lesson in Vengeance has an almost Celtic Frost-ish riff throughout the song that’s basically the embodiment of everything that’s groovy.
End it Now has a faster paced, classic death metal vibe at first. But then slows down to a heavy as fuck chuggy riff with John Tardy clearly emphasizing each and every lyric. Towards the end, we hear a floppy, Leprosy-like bass line from Terry Butler. Now’s a good time to add that I love how the bass is mixed on this album. Nothing is better than when you can actually hear the damn bass.
In Betrayed, there’s a killer rhythm behind the solo that’s downright impossible not to headbang to. I’ll admit some tracks, though like Turned to Stone, are a little lackluster only in that it seems like they’re just filler or maybe not as much effort was put into them. I don’t know, just not super memorable compared to the other songs. In Straight to Hell, Tardy utilized a lot more guttural vocals than his standard raspy “shout” and it sounds pretty damn good. The closing track, Ten Thousand Ways to Die, was alright. One of those I mentioned that were a little lackluster compared to the rest. Not very memorable, similar to a lot of other recent and “standard” Obituary I’ve heard.
It’s heavy, angry, groovy as fuck, and you can still hear the glimmer of it’s old school death metal roots.
Overall, I thought it’s a damn great album for what it is. Obituary’s been embracing an even groovier sound with each new album and I predict that it’ll remain this way in the future. Everyone’s got a different taste and might disagree as far as whether that’s a good thing or not, but I know I’m certainly still on the Obituary train.
1. “Brave” 2:14
2. “Sentence Day” 2:49
3. “Lesson in Vengeance” 3:07
4. “End It Now” 4:02
5. “Kneel Before Me” 3:04
6. “It Lives” 3:24
7. “Betrayed” 3:01
8. “Turned to Stone” 4:13
9. “Straight to Hell” 3:57
10. “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” 3:16
Genre: Death metal
Label: Relapse Records
Playing Time: 33:07
Lineup: John Tardy – vocals
Kenny Andrews – lead guitar
Trevor Peres – rhythm guitar
Terry Butler – bass
Donald Tardy – drums