Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
As one of the last remaining bands from death metal’s old guard, Obituary have demonstrated themselves to be nothing if not reliable - and nowhere is that statement more true than when on stage. Enjoying a late game renaissance stemming from 2014’s INKED IN BLOOD and the relentless cycle of touring that’s followed (and continues as of this writing), their just released live album TEN THOUSAND WAYS TO DIE provides the Obituary faithful an opportunity to share the success of the moment.
Recorded across 11 cities during their most recent 2016 North American jaunt, TEN THOUSAND WAYS TO DIE does its best to make the listener feel like they’re in the audience. Far from an UNLEASHED IN THE EAST or ALIVE! kind of live record, there’s not much in the way of post-production tinkering to be heard; amp fuzz, the occasional flub, and some complaints about the lighting lend authenticity to the performances. The tune selection is a heavy blend of INKED, COD, and SLOWLY WE ROT, and while hits like “The End Complete” or “I’m In Pain” are noticeably absent, “Find The Arise” and “Don’t Care” get a welcomed dusting off. Cheers to these guys for forsaking the path of a “best of” live collection in favor of the actual setlist they chose to employ for this particular run of dates.
As for the new songs, it’s less of a slam dunk. “Loathe” is serviceable enough with its doomlike crawl, but it comes across like a paint-by-numbers Obituary tune conceived after one too many bong rips. The title track fares much better, sounding like a leftover from the INKED sessions and allowing new(ish) guitarist Kenny Andrews to flex his six string muscle a bit. Though these songs open the album, I’d recommend starting with the live set first and then finishing with the studio tracks; the momentum feels upside down otherwise.
Almost three decades strong and Obituary is as dependable as ever. TEN THOUSAND WAYS TO DIE proves that the band still has the live chops to shame young bucks half their age, and (some) of the new material bodes well for an intended new studio album in 2017.