Frozen In Time

I like Obituary, really I do. And I wanted to like their reunion album after an 8-year layoff, really I did. I happen to think that Cause of Death is arguably one of the top five death metal albums ever, but this album (as well as the subsequent albums) only serves to cement one fact; James Murphy made that album, and a James Murphy-less Obituary album really isn’t that special, even more so considering the eight years that had to plan a slightly more spectacular comeback.

My god this album is boring, even with its heavy nostalgia factor, which I refuse to base my opinion on. Even with a superb Scott Burns production, Frozen In Time is a complete rehash of every past Obituary album, but with less conviction. The whole album comes across as superficially going through the motions.

Granted if you are an Obituary fanboy blinkered by the whole reunion hype, you will probably cream your pants over this sludgy, mid paced slab of uninspired mediocrity, but I’m not buying it. At least Suffocation’s reunion effort had some bite and a real sense of “Were fuckin’ back, motherfuckers!” whereas Obituary’s effort reeks of “Hey, remember us, where’s our royalty check?” Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’m disappointed that this is the album that is supposed to erase the terrible taste of the dreadfully intentional rawness of Back From the Dead, or just maybe the game has passed Obituary by and death metal is just full of better bands nowadays making me harder to get impressed by simply a (overrated) legacy and a name.

From opening instrumental “Redneck Stomp” all the way through to “Lockjaw” (with arguably the best moment), Frozen In Time trundles along with an flat, lifeless energy that tries desperately to rekindle a bygone era, but instead flails with empty songs and forgetful structures. Once feared vocalist John Tardy sounds tired and over annunciated compared to his early days. Allen West shows why Cause of Death was such a good album (he wasn’t on it) with solos that a blind epileptic could play, while Donald Tardy barely breaks a sweat thinking about his Andrew WK paychecks. The few memorable moments (“Insane”, “Mindset”. “Slow Death”, “Lockjaw”) are only memorable because they reek so closely of better moments from past albums (which in turn reek of quality Celtic Frost moments).

As much as I did not want this review to turn into a reunion rant, the quality of this album forces me to do so. Listen up Gorefest, Holy Terror, Dim Mak, Dissection,

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 15th, 2005


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