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Ten Thousand Ways To Die
November 2016
Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

The new live album from Florida death metal icons Obituary isn't apparently a live “album” at all. At least that's now how it's being promoted. Instead, it's considered a “single” featuring a pair of new tracks and live “bonus” material – 11 songs worth. But in marketing semantics is everything, so there you have it.

Be that as it may, Ten Thousand Ways To Die offers 55 minutes worth of music, which is a lot no matter how you slice it. The two new songs are studio efforts, with the remainder capturing what essentially was a full set from one of Obituary recent North American tours supporting their 2014 album Inked In Blood, which has proven to have some fairly long legs.

The first new track “Loathe” leads things off in epic creepy-crawl fashion. Its unhurried, methodical plod, with a bit of chug here and there, pounds away for more than six minutes, making it one of Obituary's longest songs. Frontman John Tardy sounds especially ominous here as his jet-engine vocals are delivered low and achingly slow - “I loooaaatttthhheee!”

The title track is a bit perkier, with a crafty solo from relatively new recruit Kenny Andrews, but still has the relaxed “Redneck Stomp” that has become Obituary's signature. Both new songs boast a raw, almost live sound that blends well with the actual live material that follows.

The concert set itself offers a nicely varied, evenly paced mix of newer numbers “Centuries” and “Visions In My Head,” the middle-period “Don't Care” and revered classics “Find The Arise,” “Slowly We Rot” and the “Chopped In Half/Turned Inside Out” combo plate from the Obituary's early days, nearly 30 years ago. Each song was recorded at a different venue – from Florida and Toronto to Baltimore and Boise, Idaho - which gives them an uneven and unpolished sound and feel when strung together that is actually quite refreshing.

There was no studio chicanery done after the fact. What you hear here is the genuine article, captured in its natural state. So where “Centuries Of Lies” or “Dying” sound relatively crisp and clean with ample instrumental separation, “Intoxicated,” “'Til Death” or “Find The Arise” are a mushy, sludgy and rough wall of sound – clanging cymbals and all.

But that's the way it is on the North American club circuit, especially for death metal bands who can give any venue's sound system a run for its money. And since Obituary are presented warts and all here, it puts you right there where and when it was recorded, as these things should, but rarely do. No matter what you might call them.
Track Listing

1. Loathe
2. Ten Thousand Ways to Die
3. Redneck Stomp (Live)
4. Centuries of Lies (Live)
5. Visions in My Head (Live)
6. Intoxicated (Live)
7. Bloodsoaked (Live)
8. Dying (Live)
9. Find the Arise (Live)
10. ‘Til Death (Live)
11. Don’t Care (Live)
12. Chopped in Half-Turned Inside Out (Live)
13. Slowly We Rot (Live)


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



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