Released: 2014, Relapse Records
Florida Death Metal Godfathers Obituary are back with their 9th album, INKED IN BLOOD! It’s been 5 years since the underrated DARKEST DAY was released and a few things have changed for band. Longtime bassist Frank Watkins and guitarist Ralph Santolla left the band and were replaced by Terry Butler (Death, Massacre) and Ken Andrews, respectively. In addition, Obituary also parted with Candlelight Records and have been touring heavily since 2012, playing a set composed of classic material from their first 3 albums: SLOWLY WE ROT, CAUSE OF DEATH, and THE END COMPLETE. At the same time, the band launched a successful kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of a new album that they would dedicate to the fans and not have to deal with any record label interference. Let me tell you something – revisiting all of those old songs and playing them live (some had never been played live before) got the brutal juices flowing, because INKED IN BLOOD is the rawest Obituary album since SLOWLY WE ROT and the angriest since WORLD DEMISE!
The whole album has been conceived as a return to the roots, from the raw production to the sick artwork to the primitive logo on the disc, this almost looks like the debut album of an underground band and I believe that is intentional. The first track “Centuries of Lies” bashes you over the head immediately with John Tardy’s piercing vocals over some fast rumbling guitars and drums. After the frantic start, the album displays a variety of tempos from mid paced mosher (“Visions In My Head”) to slow grinding groove (title track “Inked in Blood”) to blazing fast again (“Violence”). The signature Obituary sounds are all there, John’s best in the business growls, Trevor’s grinding downtuned riffs, heavy bass from Terry, and Donald’s no nonsense drumming. My favorite sequence of tracks is “Inked in Blood”, “Deny You” (chugging guitars, creepy lyrics – THE PRIEST COMES TO GET YOUWHILE COMING HOME!) and “Within a Dying Breed” (foreboding and slow – BAD DREAMS ARE CALLING FOR YOUR HEAD!). The whole album is great, the deluxe edition also comes with live in the studio versions of 2 old SLOWLY WE ROT songs, “Intoxicated” and “Bloodsoaked”. Both are very cool and give the listener an idea of what these rare cuts sound like when played today.
I couldn’t be happier with INKED IN BLOOD. It has all of the necessary Obituary elements for Florida Death Metal and the delivery is full of anger and rage. I think the band did exactly what it set out to do with this record and did it their way. Well done guys.