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Obituary
Inked in Blood
November 2014
Released: 2014, Relapse Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Infamousbutcher

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.
Track Listing

1. Centuries of Lies
2. Violent By Nature
3. Pain Inside
4. Visions in my Head
5. Back on Top
6. Violence
7. Inked in Blood
8. Deny You
9. Within a Dying Breed
10. Minds of the World
11. Out of Blood
12. Paralyzed With Fear
Bonus Tracks
13. Intoxicated
14. Bloodsoaked

Lineup

John Tardy - Vocals
Donald Tardy - Drums
Trevor Peres - Guitars
Ken Andrews - Guitars
Terry Butler - Bass


Next review: » Obituary - Inked in Blood
Previous review: » Obituary - Frozen In Time

Obituary
Inked in Blood
November 2014
Released: 2014, Gibtown Music/Relapse Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Inked in Blood marks something of a second comeback for Florida death metal legends Obituary. Since reuniting in 2003 and issuing the Frozen In Time album in 2005, it’s been a bit of a struggle for the band – who soldiered on nonetheless.



Obituary parted ways with founding guitarist Allen West (as well as his replacement, Ralph Santolla), longtime bassist Frank Watkins and longtime label Roadrunner. And after issuing 2007’s Xecutioner's Return and 2009’s Darkest Days through the lower-profile Candlelight Records, they found themselves as free agents.



But like a lot of bands these days, Obituary have used their independence to their advantage. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to finance the recording and production of a new album, and were able to line up a deal with Relapse to issue it once they were done. They also solidified their lineup with Massacre/ex-Six Feet Under bassist Terry Butler and new lead guitarist Kenny Andrews, and were given the relative luxury of time to write the new material. Inked In Blood, their ninth studio album and first in five years, launched a new era for the band upon its Oct. 28 release.



To take a few steps forward, Obituary have taken several steps back. Right off the bat, the grisly armless, headless and violated torso that adorns the cover harks all the way back to the band's rude and crude 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot. The raw, natural – yet still undeniably brutal - production also recalls early era Obituary, before the relative success of Cause of Death allowed for modestly better recording budgets. And the overall sound will no doubt be familiar: the thick, groovy redneck stomp built around Trevor Peres' massive rhythm guitar that the band have honed over a quarter-century – give or take the five or six years of their late '90s/early '00s hiatus. This is more about rejuvenation than reinvention.



Inked In Blood has a fresher, more energetic vibe than Frozen In Time a decade ago. Andrews' solos – which are used sparingly and strategically - offer genuine bite here, and John Tardy's signature roaring vocals are clearer, cleaner and more coherent than ever, even though he still breathes fire every time he opens his mouth.



The songs have greater variety – relatively speaking – than they have in a while and are played with more intensity and fire. It's good to hear the band really cutting loose and kicking up the tempos, as on the brisk opener “Centuries of Lies,” “Minds of the Blood,” “Paralyzed With Fear,” the almost funky “Visions In My Head” built on Butler's quivering bass or “Violence.” It makes for a nice ebb and flow when paired with the smothering grooves and death march pace of the title track or “Back On Top” - even if “Minds” is a dead-ringer for “Back to One” from The End Complete. And the slog and slam serve and volley of “Pain Inside” and “Within A Dying Breed” show the dynamism the band are capable of when they feel like it.



While there are sections that plod somewhat aimlessly, and certainly some moments of redundancy or déjà vu, Obituary do what they do better than they have done it probably since 1994's World Demise on Inked In Blood. Where Frozen sounded tentative and the last two albums seemed somewhat labored, Inked is inspired, loose and breathes new life into the band. Again.
Track Listing

1. Centuries of Lies
2. Violent by Nature
3. Pain Inside
4. Visions in My Head
5. Back On Top
6. Violence
7. Inked in Blood
8. Deny You
9. Within a Dying Breed
10. Minds of the World
11. Out of Blood
12. Paralyzed With Fear

Lineup

John Tardy - vocals
Trevor Peres - guitar
Donald Tardy - drums
Terry Butler - bass
Kenny Andrews - guitar


Next review: » Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
Previous review: » Obituary - Frozen In Time





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