CD Review: “Obituary” by Obituary

Obituary saw a return to form on its 2014 effort, Inked In Blood. The Floridian death metal quintet attempt to maintain that momentum on its eponymous titled tenth album. Its signature sludgy riffs and guttural vocals have not dulled in the slightest, as over half of the album’s 10 tracks are groove laden stompers. Still, there are a few fast numbers like the one-two combination of “Brave” and “Sentence Day.” The former track breaks out at top speed as drummer Donald Tardy punishes his kit for the duration of two minutes. Guitarists Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews sprinkle several leads on the track over a cacophonous maelstrom of riffs. Then, just when you think the coast is clear, “Sentence Day” continues the onslaught. The guitar leads again deserve commendation and complement the chaotic nature of the track. “Lesson In Vengeance” instantly sounds like vintage DRI with its rolling composition and John Tardy’s semi-clean vocals. Its swinging pace stands in stark contrast to the prior tracks but still maintains a high degree of heaviness. “Kneel Before Me” is a plodding affair with its mechanic double bass and pugnacious riffs. Things get a little repetitive on the record’s second half. “It Lives” and “Betrayed” are mid-tempo numbers that sound contrived and a bit uninspired. The band dials it in, which is unfortunate as it slightly takes away from the album. However, “Turned To Stone” the albums second single, rectifies things with its stomping beat and growl along chorus. It is sure to become a staple at the band’s live shows. Album closer “10,000 Ways To Die” is the title track to Obituary’s live album released October 2016. It is another mid-tempo number that concludes the record in raucous form.

Obituary has nothing to prove with over 30 years under its belt. Its fans know what to expect on each release and the band’s influence over the death metal genre is readily acknowledged. Still, that does not mean the band can rest on its laurels and not produce quality albums. Obituary for the most part shows the band at its best. The first half of the record is diverse, offering several slices of the band’s sound on a gore soaked platter. However, for some reason the band struggles with consistency during the final half. The band dials it in on a few tracks, leaving the listener slightly disappointed as we know the capability of this group. However, things pick up at the end and the band avoids falling in to the mediocre abyss. Production wise, the band has not sounded better. The sound is not muffled or droning which can be a problem as distorted guitars are a primary element of Obituary’s sound. Furthermore, the band quickly gets the job done as Obituary runs a mere 33 minutes.

Well, Obituary’s tenth record is a fairly solid effort. The record is devoid of surprises and that is perfectly fine. However, Obituary falls a little short due to the filler tracks on this record. Short albums have the task of containing as little filter as possible, which is harder than it sounds. Still, Obituary make up for it with a highly enjoyable first half and finding direction toward the record’s conclusion. Fans should pick up this album as should any metalhead looking for a short record to bang their head.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s website: http://www.obituary.cc/