You don’t need me to waffle on about how good Obituary are.
Over the past 30 odd years they haven’t made a duff record. Sure some have been better than others but in a similar way to veteran bands such as Overkill, Marduk & Cannibal Corpse, Obituary’s consistency and unwavering dedication to their art (which in their case is of course blood drenched, groove sodden, riff heavy death metal) has ensured that the bands’ fans have never been disappointed.
Now I’m really chuffed to say that, knocking on fifty years of age these Floridian red necks have delivered one of the best albums of their career on this, their eponymous tenth studio album.
I’ve lived with this record for over a week now and I like it more every time I play it. All the classic Obituary trademarks are here. Trevor Peres is still churning out catchy, heavier than Gemma Collins in Greggs, gnarly riffs. John Tardy’s vocals are still the aural equivalent of being disembowelled with a rusty garden tool. Brother Donald’s drums are tighter than Michael Moore’s Y-fronts and, along with man mountain Terry Butler’s bass underpin the groovy havoc being wreaked by the rest of the ban. Terry is doing a cracking job in filling the massive gap left by long time Obituary bass player Frank Watkins who sadly passed away in 2015. Kenny Andrews’ leads are wicked and he himself is perhaps a better fit than Ralph Santolla who he replaced. This is the second full length album from this line-up and the cohesiveness of the band is obvious here and there is a marked improvement over the previous record, 2014’s “Inked In Blood”.
Literally blasting off with “Brave” any notion that Obituary might wanna slow things down a tad this far into their career is thrown out of the window as this must be one of the fastest tracks the band have written with thunderous drumming and an earworm of a riff that attacks like a rusty hammer-drill.
“Sentence Day” is next and kicks off with a riff reminiscent of early Celtic Frost (who I know the band are massive fans of). The leads here are super melodic and Kenny really struts it on the solo. Cracking track.
The riff to “Lesson In Vengeance” is a hip shaking groove machine that will get your head banging as well as your feet tapping. This is Obituary doing what they do best, simple but heavy arrangements that tick all the boxes I want ticked and put a grin on my face.
In fact every one of the ten tracks is a banger with zero filler and with only a couple barely stretching over four minutes long there’s no chance of you getting bored. From the rabid attack of the first two tracks to the sheer crush of songs like “Turned To Stone” and “Straight To Hell” – which incidentally features one of John Tardy’s sickest vocal performances – the band have delivered an album that doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is, a fucking awesome death metal record and a self-titled statement of intent as well as a reminder that when it comes to death metal Obituary are still relevant, still kill the old way and are still the big ‘gators in this particular swamp.
(10/10 Mark Eve)