Though a new Obituary record is commonly regarded as a moment of joy to all Old School Death Metal aficionados, I kind of lost track of the band along the past decade or so. It was only because of VM-Underground’s VincentP’s recent enthusiasm for the band that I went back to listen to their back catalogue since 2007’s ‘Xecutioners Return’ only to conclude that the band never released a bad album since their come back in 2005. In fact, even when some of their 90’s albums are seen as their weakest, I dare say that Obituary still has to release an album unworthy of anyone’s time. Another conclusion is that I fully embraced a long lost love, simply put: who doesn’t love a good portion of that Frostian Death Metal when it is served in this quality?
This eleventh full-length of one of Death Metal’s truest genre veterans is simply a continuation of the path that they have been on for the past couple of years. They have left the slight melodicism of ‘Xecutioners Return’ and, in fact, returned to what they do best: groove and pummel themselves through a set of relentless neckbreakers. Through their last couple of albums they also have been working on their sound, while at first glance there might not have been changed a whole lot, the differences are to be found in its details. Their unique trademark sound, recognisable out of thousands because of singer John Tardy’s so distinct sound, his brother Donald Tardy’s basic but also swinging drumming and Celtic Frost-based riffs, has evolved almost unobtrusively over the past few years. It got much fuller, heavier and, as a whole, meatier without giving in a single bit of their musical identity, which especially gave the drums a far more acoustic and realistic sound that, on their turn, gave the band a phenomenal boost in lethality.
In the narrow soundscape that they have painted themselves in from the very start of the band in 1984, they have proven themselves to be extremely effective. Apart from a somewhat peculiar experimentation in the 90’s with Hardcore or even Hiphop here and there and some melody in the mid-00’s, Obituary has stuck pretty tightly to its self-directed recipe of tight riffs, thundering grooves and vocal pieces consisting mainly of catchy one-liners (“On The Flooooooooor“). Tardy & Co. stick to that tight recipe on this album too, once again taking advantage of its good, deep, but at the very same time, authentic sound.
Relapse Records has advanced a few songs and released them as digital singles, which are some of the album’s highlights, but while some songs are a little catchier than others, ‘Dying Of Everything’ sounds more than worthy of the Obituary name across the board. Even though the band has been around for about four decades (we’ll just close our eyes for a moment for the break taken), Obituary still sounds as energetic and full of passion as ever as on the previous albums, which is something we can only take our hat off to these days.
Whereas with some previous albums, the creativity and inspiration overtly went mainly into the music and the title and artwork seemed a somewhat underrated child, the untitled and artwork-less previous album being the ultimate example, this new album is styled in a for Obituary standard atypical breath-taking cover by Mariusz Lewandowski, who sadly passed away shortly after completing this artwork.
Words like ‘legends’ and ‘genre heroes’ are being used lightly in reviews and in fan comments, but there are only very few bands on which that label is as appropriate as with Obituary. Having spent a good amount of time preparing for this new album (and review), I can without a blink of a doubt say that with ‘Dying Of Everything’ the band has delivered their very best album since 2005’s ‘Frozen In Time’.