Let’s just admit it. Obituary are always going to be hard pushed to top albums like Slowly We Rot and Cause Of Death – records that helped to define death metal, which crawled out of the Florida everglades nearly 30 years ago and slithered into the minds of youth the world over. But 2014’s Inked In Blood proved that there’s plenty of violent energy dwelling inside the quintet… and Obituary builds on those foundations, adding new textures while drawing on the band’s blood-stained roots.
So we have the pounding, remorseless grooves that Obituary have long made their own (the infectious Turned To Stone harks back to ‘94’s Don’t Care, for instance), plus more rapid doses of bludgeon (Brave, Sentence Day) that are full of vigour and skull-splintering intensity.
However, it’s the individual performances that make Obituary really stand out: Kenny Andrews’ leadwork, for instance, is exceptional, from his sweeping melodic solos to the arcing, whammy-bar dives that pepper songs like Kneel Before Me, while John Tardy again reminds us of why he’s one of DM’s most brutally effective vocalists, and his brother Donald delivers a masterclass behind the kit, embellishing each song with precision fills and double-kick bursts.
It all adds up to a brilliantly executed record which is both a worthy addition to the Obituary canon and a launchpad for a (hopefully) fruitful next chapter.
And by God, it’s heavy.