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Review: Obituary - Obituary

Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2017
Duration: 33:07
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 2.75/5

Review online: March 18, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating

Rated 2.82/5 (56.47%) (17 Votes)

The musical rollercoaster that is Obituary today worried me when I learned that they were set to release their 10th full-length album, simply entitled Obituary, this year. Do death, gore, Sulphur, body parts and violence reign supreme this time around or did they follow previous and not so overwhelming entries?

To quickly answer that question, I say that Obituary is similarly ranked with its predecessor, Inked in Blood. While the instrumental proficiency is there, the songs don't actually follow the band's status of legends and instead of being visceral, badass and headbanging-friendly, they all end up somewhat flat and forgettable. The first two tracks, "Brave" and "Sentence Day" are actually very cool. The first one starts on a bang with a thrashy spectrum, while the second is surprisingly similar in the riff department, although not without its own thing going on. In fact, it is one of the best in the effort with killer leads and an absolutely awesome solo. If all the others were half as vicious and powerful as "Sentence Day", we would have a strong contender for album of the year in our hands. But here's where the problems start: the mid portion of the record is entirely forgettable, with the majority of the songs sounding too much alike, in a mix of groove metal and pinches of Thrash and Death. "A Lesson in Vengeance" is a perfect example of the flatness and lack of inspiration that stormed the Tardy brother's minds. "End It Now", "Kneel Before Me", "It Lives" and "Betrayed" (all featured on that lackluster part of the album) all fit the profile of being what the entire endeavor is: musically competent, but deprived of any sort of inspiration. I caught myself more often than not wondering which song I was listening to, because – and I cannot stress this enough – they all sound too much like each other, both lyric and music-wise, being it in the verse, bridge or chorus.

"Turned to Stone" and "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" try to escape the claws of indifference with a better vocal display by John Tardy and some toned-down, heavier guitar work that almost flirts with the stoner genre by Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews, who deliver a surprisingly good face-melting solo in the middle of the first and completely steal the show in the second one, the best song of the album. Those two dudes do provide a good amount of cool riffs and interesting solos, while the kitchen support by Donald Tarly (drums) and Terry Butler (bass, of Death and Six Feet Under fame) is decent but at times feel mechanical and automatic. Production-wise, the album follows the same mixing and engineering of previous Obituary records, which is satisfactory.

To sum it up, Obituary is hit or miss. The performance of the band members is very pleasing in many parts but feel utterly uninspired in others, and the dragged and groovy songwriting works really well on two or three tracks but turns other songs into snoozefests. The overall quality of the album is good, as these guys still manage to kick some ass here and there, but this record is too forgettable and diplomatic. Clearly playing it safe for a long time now, Obituary ironically prophesied their own demise in their very first album, way back in 1989: they are, indeed, slowly rotting.

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Review: Darkest Day (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Dying of Everything (reviewed by Micah.Ram)
Review: Dying of Everything (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Slowly We Rot (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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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