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/

CD Review: ‘Buried in Violence’ by Product of Hate

Product of Hate bring the brutal groove on its debut album Buried in Violence. The band’s mix of death metal, thrash and hardcore will surely draw unfair comparisons to Lamb of God. However, the Wisconsin quintet has a sound completely distinct from its Virginian peers. The band’s music is no-nonsense metal that gives the listener little breathing room. The first track “Kill.You.Now” opens with a whirlwind riff before the drums smack you to the ground and bash your head in. There is a strong Haunted influence with the band’s modern take on thrash metal. The riffs are complex yet dynamic while frontman Adam Gilley barks like a madman. Things do not relent for most of the record. “Annihilation” has a hardcore groove sprinkled with speed metal riffing that makes for a maniacal contrast. The visceral “Blood Coated Concrete” would make Kerry King and Gary Holt nod their heads in sinister approval. The aggressive percussion and galloping riffs drive this track like a platoon charging towards the enemy. The only time the band shows a modicum of mercy is on the haunting instrumental “Vindicare.” The eerie bassline provides the perfect backdrop for the classical guitar lines which gradually build to a hellish peak before fading out.

Legendary metal guitarist James Murphy produced Buried in Violence. Murphy’s career spans roughly three decades and he has played in Death, Obituary and Testament. Murphy brings his knowledge on all things brutal on this record. The album is somewhat stripped down, but not minimalist. The mix is just right with punchy drums and a sharp guitar sound. It is the perfect sound for the record as it captures the band’s seriousness and no-frills style of playing.

Well, Product of Hate has certainly made its mark with a strong debut album. I can safely say this band is America’s answer to The Haunted and that is not an insult at all. The band does a fine job melding the complexity of thrash with the dynamics of hardcore, something many American metal bands struggle with. Buried in Violence is modern thrash done right and it is refreshing to hear a metal band not emulating metal bands from 1985. Product of Hate bring the violence and the mosh on this one.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://www.therockfather.com/productofhate

CD Review: ‘Inked in Blood’ by Obituary

The old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke do not fix it.” There is another old adage that states, “change is good.” Either statement works depending on the situation. Obituary, the legendary Floridian death metal band, has adhered to the former for 30 years. Inked in Blood is the group’s newest album in five years and the group has not lost their step. The album begins in thrashing fashion with “Centuries of Lies.” It is a quick 2-minute number that twists and turns with attitude. The first single off the record, “Violent by Nature,” offers a crushing groove with drummer Donald Tardy pounding away like he is marching off to war. The band’s signature swampy distortion is in full effect on this track and is sure to become a fan favorite. The groove continues on “Pain Inside,” which stops and starts like a tank struggling through a trench. Vocalist John Tardy’s guttural vocals are fairly decipherable on this track as he screams “I’m coming to get you and your soul!” Painful indeed. The punky “Violence” is a break from the slower tracks on the record and harkens the speed from the band’s 1989 debut Slowly We Rot. The highlight, however, is the title track. The frightening, ambivalent riff is simple, but will stick in your head. Again, the group plays slow, as the molten riffs burn everything is sight. Album closer “Paralyzed in Fear” is another brutal song, with guitarists Trevor Perez and Kenny Andrews playing some sick, crunching riffs.

Inked in Blood is not as exciting or groundbreaking as Slowly We Rot or Cause of Death. The album is Obituary by the numbers, which will excite some fans and disappoint others. However, the record is notable for its solid and clear production. In the end, Inked in Blood is a good record. Yet, when several bands, including Behemoth, Exodus and At the Gates have released strong comeback records, Inked in Blood is slightly underwhelming. However, at the end of the day it is Obituary, and goodness knows the world needs Floridian death metal.

Visit Obituary’s website at http://www.obituary.cc.