Obituary is the self titled release by, of course, Obituary. It was released on the 17th of March via Relapse Records. The American death metal band’s newest album will be there 10th studio album overall and their first since 2014’s Inked in Blood.
There have been a few singles released so far and all of them were pretty good. They show that a band, even after all this time, don’t have to shy away from adding new elements. Not that Obituary have gone off and started making nu-metal or something. This is still very much Obituary. What they did though, to enhance and modernise their sound, was add in some pretty virtuoso guitar leads and solos.
On to the album now though. Obituary is 37 minutes long and has 11 songs on it, though one is a bonus song. I am pretty sure, if you know Obituary’s sound, it isn’t going to raise many eyebrows. It is very Obituary, for the better.
I am happy to see though that the big guitar leads are also prevalent throughout. The big leads are offset so perfectly against the low toned, bassy riffs and vocal growls that each track is elevated massively by them.
One thing this Obituary album is, more than anything else, is heavy. There are no ballads or interludes or anything like that. It is a 37 minute long neck breaking, angry beast of a record. From the first song, Brave, which starts off with a rip roaring drum beat, a quickly played riff and vocals that are spat out at speed, you known what you are going to get. The change up comes near the end with a really fast high pitched solo from Kenny Andrews, jam packed with squealing strings.
End it Now is a similar song. It has a really infectious and quick rhythm to the start and is joined by quickly yelled vocals. This song does have a really cool groove section though. Big chugging guitars and a slower thump to the drums play a section that you can’t help but nod your head to.
Songs like A Lesson in Vengeance, Ten Thousand Ways to Die and Straight to Hell use the steadier, groove rhythm to keep the heads banging. Straight to Hell has a brilliant slow down that fades into an epic guitar solo that suits the song brilliantly despite just being a few notes played and left to ring. Ten Thousand Ways to Die has another great solo and even borders on black metal with some of the guttural growls and roars used as backing vocals in the chorus.
Songs like No Hope, Betrayed, Sentence Day and Turned to Stone are much faster songs with Donald Tardy bashing the drums at blistering speed. No Hope is such a good song. It is packed full of gorgeous riffs and the drumming is beyond brilliant, as is the short and fast solo that leads into long drawn out notes. Betrayed is a nice switch up with John Tardy using a different higher toned vocal style for the intro and a very dark sounding style in the verses. It is my favourite song vocally.
The vocal style changes again a bit more, never too much, just a bit, for the song It Lives. It’s a bit black metal with the ferociously quick tapping drums and an evil sounding roar for an intro. It has an infectious riff but it is the drums that stand out on this track. The lead guitar comes in to play an outro line this time.
Obituary is such a strong metal album. Starting with the blistering Brave and ending with the brilliant No Hope, it is a really well laid out album. Sometimes these sorts of albums can get a bit dull, with 3 minute songs, all being very heavy. Not here though.
Obituary have a lot going on here. Different rhythms, the lead guitar, clever riffing and slight change ups of vocal styles mean your interest is held throughout. Obituary is a heavy album but there is more going on here then that. The songs are really well structured. You can’t help head banging along, or whipping out the air guitar at times too.
I don’t always like John Tardy’s vocals, just a personal preference thing. They are the perfect vocals for Obituary though. It is also great to see the slight changes in pitch and tone here and there.
All in all, this is another fine example of the old boys letting the new generation know they are still here, still relevant and still able to raise the bar.
Obituary is available to purchase from all the usual outlets now. You can also pick it up from Relapse Records, along with some other great merch. Check the band out on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with information on them.
Why not grab yourself a Bloodstock Festival ticket to see Obituary play live?
The Final Score - 8/10
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