Release Date: Mar 17, 2017
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Obituary's most recent album is another sludgy, gritty offering that demonstrates why the band have stayed relevant nearly 30 years since they began. The death metal pioneers' self-titled tenth record stays true to the sound they've been developing since their debut album, Slowly We Rot. Very few death metal bands have vocalists who are instantly recognizable, yet John Tardy has always had an unmatchable tone to his voice. His vocals delve sparingly into the gurgling sounds associated with death metal, opting instead to fall into a mid-range growl unlike anyone else's. The band achieve a sound on this album that is modern yet follows the framework of their definitive releases.
T heir biggest "hit" is called Chopped in Half and they have spent more than 30 years exploring the depths of sonic depravity: Obituary are simply the living embodiment of death metal's gruesome spirit. Plainly intended to be definitive, their 10th album stays true to the scything, mid-paced attack that had such an impact on fledgling extreme metal in the late 80s, but in contrast to 2014's Inked in Blood, this is no perfunctory delivering of familiar goods. Latest recruits Kenny Andrews (lead guitar) and Terry Butler (bass) have brought renewed focus to both songwriting and sound: the former's blistering, old-school solos are uniformly stunning and Butler's chemistry with drummer Donald Tardy lifts the likes of breakneck opener Brave to levels of intensity that Obituary haven't reached for years.
Of the bands that define Florida death metal, which also strongly defines American Death Metal as a whole, Obituary remain a beacon of consistency. Beginning in 1984 under the Executioner moniker, Obituary built their sound around stripping the Gothic cobwebs off Celtic Frost's mid-paced riffing. They let the guitars become a humid swamp, thick and airy.