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Classic Review: Obituary - Slowly We Rot
Slowly We Rot

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1989
Duration: 35:52
Tracks: 12
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: September 18, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Slowly We Rot

Rated 4.3/5 (86.07%) (56 Votes)

Does anybody not know this one? If you don't, then you don't know Death Metal at all. Obituary came out of nowhere (or Florida, which is almost the same thing) in 1989 with this debut – the heaviest, grossest, gnarliest metal album anybody had ever heard. This was before Cannibal Corpse, remember. The Death Metal explosion was just hitting full force with Sepultura getting released in the states, and the first whispers of arcane bands like Morbid Angel and Entombed being heard from some label called Earache. Here Obituary threw down the gauntlet of pure fucking Death, and made themselves almost synonymous with the term.

What surprises me, getting a hold of this on disc after so long, is how good this album still is. I remember just being into it because it was so fucking extreme and brutal for the time – I didn't care if it was good, I just liked it because it freaked people out when you played it. That sick fucking guitar tone and John Tardy's inhuman vocals made for a package that set the bar in those days. In 1989 there just was not anything sicker, more extreme, or more fucking heavy than this album. What stands out to me now is just how good the riffs are on this fucker. Obituary weren't really about speed, they were about slow, gut-churning riffs and John's incomprehensible howls of torment. I mark this album as where the 'more extreme than you' ethic set in, as everyone wanted to find a way to make an album sicker than this one. Well, you can make albums sicker, but few have managed better. Obituary came to Death by way of Celtic Frost and Venom, and their crunchy, riff-built songwriting lifts this far above the dull grinding of the many splatter bands that came after.

Yeah, a lot of the songs on here sound a lot alike, but that just means they are all riff-packed killers with memorable hooks catchier than a lot of supposed melodic bands manage. This album is what it is – they were aiming for Death Metal and nothing else – but even now, after twenty years of Death bands slugging away, this album still stands as a metal landmark, and that is no small shit. If you claim to be a Death Metal fan, and this album is not on your shelf, then you are a fucking poser. That's just an inarguable fact. Slowly We Rot is a crushing classic of the genre it helped spawn, and it will still rip your face off even now. Fucking Essential.

Other related information on the site
Review: Cause of Death (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Darkest Day (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Obituary (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Xecutioner's Return (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with bassist Terry Butler on August 30, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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