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Obituary
Obituary
March 2017
Released: 2017, Relapse Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

10 albums and 29 years may have passed since they slowly began to rot, but Obituary is still as timeless (frozen in time?) and relevant as they ever were, probably even more so today. Coming off a career resurgence courtesy of 2014’s INKED IN BLOOD and the touring cycle that accompanied it, the Florida death metal vets are set to enter their third decade with their best record to date this side of the Roadrunner days. Sure, the band opted to title this new album eponymously, but they just as well could’ve named it “How Obituary Got Its Groove Back.”



As good as the material was on INKED IN BLOOD, one could argue that it sounded too polished, too clean. OBITUARY sounds like a remix of the more amped up INKED tunes but filtered through a 1994 lens and soaked in Red Bull. And clocking in at a smidge over 30 minutes, it’s a lean and dirty throwback to the band’s thrashier Xecutioner days, full of high impact riffs and low on filler. The one-two punch of “Brave” and “Sentence Day” open the album as a pair of the fastest tunes in the band’s repertoire, while gems like “It Lives” and “Straight to Hell” recall the up-tempo, old school groove of classics like “Find the Arise” and “Don’t Care”. “Turned to Stone” recently hit the streets as a single and is token (toking?) Obituary sludge stomp at its finest and “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” from last year’s live album of the same name makes a return appearance to close out the disc. It’s a tight and effective batch of tunes that flow remarkably well together and leaving you wanting more.



But let’s talk about how good the band sounds for a bit, shall we? Trevor Peres’ bong water swamp guitar tone sounds meaner, heavier, and grimier than it has in ages. It’s the cornerstone of the Obituary sound and anchors the tunes front and center in the mix – exactly where it should be. John Tardy’s inimitable vocal growl sounds thicker and weathered with age, roaring like some kind of wounded demon. But the real surprise is how much leeway kinda sorta new lead guitarist Kenny Andrews has been given with the tunes. Flipping the switch seamlessly between total shred (“Brave”), bluesy arpeggio runs (“Betrayed”), and everything in between (that harmonic solo on “Ten Thousand Ways”), he’s easily the most proficient guitarist in the band’s lineage and his contributions make OBITUARY the most technically articulate album in the band’s catalog.



Obituary could tour into infinity on the backs of their first three records and the metal community would probably be okay with that - which makes OBITUARY that much more of an accomplishment at this stage of their existence. Arguably as good as any of those first three records and definitely as good, if not better, than anything in the last 10 years, OBITUARY is the album that both the fans and the band deserve.
Track Listing

1. Brave
2. Sentence Day
3. A Lesson in Vengeance
4. End it Now
5. Kneel Before Me
6. It Lives
7. Betrayed
8. Turned to Stone
9. Straight to Hell
10. Ten Thousand Ways to Die

Lineup

John Tardy – Vocals
Donald Tardy – Drums
Trevor Peres – Guitars
Terry Butler – Bass
Kenny Andrews – Lead Guitar


Next review: » Obituary - Obituary
Previous review: » Obituary - Inked in Blood

Obituary
Obituary
March 2017
Released: 2017, Relapse Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

The one knock on Obituary's post-reunion albums is that they've been a bit sluggish, as the band seemed to get a bit too enamored with their methodical “redneck stomp” at the expense of some of the raw aggression of old. But with the introduction of ex-Death/Massacre/Six Feet Under bassist Terry Butler and lead guitarist Kenny Andrews to the fold and a back-to-basics mentality, things took a turn for the better with 2014's Inked In Blood, which showed renewed vim and vigor.



That carries over to their even more energetic self-titled 10th album. Following hot on the heels of October's “single” “Ten Thousand Ways To Die" - which featured one other new song not included on the album, "Loathe," and 45 minutes of live material - Obituary get right down to business with the bulldozing "Brave," which recalls "Back To One" from 1992's The End Complete. It's a 2:15, d-beat driven barnstormer that gives way to more of the same with "Sentence Day."



"Lesson In Vengeance" down-shifts to a chugging jog that is then mixed with a brisker gallop at the front and back of "End It Now." Drummer Donald Tardy kicks up the double-bass patter for "Kneel Before Me" and "It Lives," which sounds like a retooling of "Loathe" in frontman John Tardy's full-throated, forboding "It liiiivvvvveeeessss" roar.



There's not much in the way of the slog that typified the more recent Xecutioner's Return or Darkest Days here. "Turned To Stone" has that same sort of creepy-crawl pace, but Tardy's emphatic vocals and the groovy rhythm guitar crunch of Trevor Peres and Andrews keep any dreariness at bay – as does the sprinting lead break that caps it off. Same goes for "Straight To Hell," only with a bit more plod and without the wild solo at the end.



But there are plenty of those elsewhere. Andrews figures much more prominently here than he did on Inked In Blood and makes the most of the opportunity with fiery solos in just about every song. Indeed "Sentence Day" absolutely is studded with leads and tradeoffs with Peres, making it perhaps the flashiest song the generally unassuming band have ever done.



At 10 songs in 33 minutes, Obituary is the band's liveliest, most efficient album since their 2005 comeback Frozen In Time. Its spunkiness is infectious and its raw energy as is genuine as it was back in the day. And with its brisker pace and the band's rediscovered heft, it packs quite a refreshing wallop, which is never a bad thing.
Track Listing

1. Brave
2. Sentence Day
3. Lesson In Vengeance
4. End It Now
5. Kneel Before Me
6. It Lives
7. Betrayed
8. Turned To Stone
9. Straight To Hell
10. Ten Thousand Ways To Die

Lineup

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


Next review: » Obituary - Ten Thousand Ways to Die
Previous review: » Obituary - Inked in Blood





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