Obituary have been together over thirty years now. Releasing a self titled record is often thought of as a career – and legacy – defining move. Whilst Suicide Silence’s controversy ridden eponymous release came with a total change in direction; Obituary have simply solidified their thrashy death metal roots.
Indeed, Obituary is almost the band by numbers. There’s little new here, but that doesn’t mean that this is a bad listen: tracks like “Lesson In Vengeance” feature riffs as awe-inspiring as anything in the bands back catalogue.
John Tardy’s vocals sound as raw as ever, though they are buried slightly in the mix. In fact, the mixing of Obituary is one of the albums weakest points; when releases such as Darkest Hour’s latest, Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora and NAILS’ You Will Never Be One Of Us are making metal sound more vital, aggressive and intimidating than ever, this record simply doesn’t have enough bite.
Each song, bar the intro, sits between three and four minutes; there’s little in the way of experimentation here, though that is more than made up for by headbang inducing riffs. “Betrayed,” has an almost Hatebreed metallic hardcore stomp to its lead melody and features a catastrophically heavy breakdown. “Sentence Day,” meanwhile has
The drop D riffing continues throughout the record; whilst the generally mid-pace chug of songs keep drummer Donald Tardy from showing his full range of drumming skills, tracks like “End It Now” do show some flair.
“End It Now,” also features the standout vocal performance from John – his demonic, low growl seems genuine when bellowing morbid lyrics like “in this cold, cold world / in the pouring rain / no chance for solace / no chance for change!” Throughout, the lyrics on Obituary sketch vivid pictures; Tardy’s delivery adds the colour. “It Lives” opens with a monolithic war cry from the vocalist – when he screams that “it lives,” it feels like a real, explicit warning of some Lovecraftian beast rising.
Whilst this record visits little new ground for Obituary, it does hone what they do even further than on previous releases: it won’t convert any new fans but for anyone already converted it is a fine addition to an even finer discography.
Obituary’s self titled album is out now on Relapse Records.