Darkest Day

It would be easy for me to simply cut and paste my review Obituary’s real comeback album, 2007s Xecutioner’s Return considering this has the same sort of throwback glorious artwork, sense of album ranging classic Obituary riffage, Ralph Santolla’s leads and oppressive, murky production that made Xecutioner’s Return so good.

Ultimately that’s what most of you really need to know right? That this isn’t a fall back to Frozen in Time or Back From the Dead, but a continuation of Xecutioner’s Return’s perfectly rendered, classic Obituary. Well, have no fear as Darkest Day is cut from the exact same cloth as Xecutioner’s Return and even includes 2 bonus tracks from the stop gap Left to Die EP (“Forces Realign” and “Left to Die”) to prove it.

The mix of John Tardy’s instantly recognizable foul bellows, oozing, Celtic Frost inspired, crawling riffs (“This Life”, “Truth Be Told”), sick grooves (“Fields of Pain”) and the occasional up-tempo bruiser (opener “List of Dead”, “See Me Now”, “Violent Dreams”) is again present and occasionally flocked by Santolla’s restrained but melodic leads, once again doing for the material what James Murphy did on Cause of Death. The songs all seem to cull from the band’s past and all the riffs seem to at some point sound like they would have fit on any thing from Cause of Death, The End Complete or even World Demise.

The duo of “Outside My Head” (which comes close to being this albums “Second Chance” from Xecutioner’s Return) and “Payback” are particularly reminiscent of the band’s back catalog. “Your Darkest Day” is sheer menace and the inclusion of “Left to Die” from the EP of the same name adds arguably one of Obituary’s finest (6 +minute) moments for those that missed the EP.

Santolla is used sparingly, not quite adding the obvious shredding melodies that he did to Deicide’s the Stench of Redemption, but some my still find his solos a bit obtrusive and un- Obituary-ish, but those will be the same folks that think Slowly We Rot is better than Cause of Death – its all in the eye of the beholder. Either way, Obituary continue to cement their place in death metal royalty and add to their mostly excellent legacy a full twenty years after their debut.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 29th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Red

    This sounds like it will be really good, except for the murky production. The production is THE main thing that turned me off on the Xecutioner’s Return. Oh well…

  2. Commented by: Justin

    Santolla can do no wrong the past few years.

  3. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I don’t know……..When I first heard World Demise I thought it was awesome. The crystal clear production, the industrial machine like feel of the songs, the atmospheric lead solos.

    I heard none of that on Xecutioner’s return. In fact to me they sounded like a b-grade death metal band, not one of the classic elite of the scene.

    I’ll probably pass on this one, I don’t know maybe my tastes are just too critical now that I’m older.

    Also, I still don’t understand the Ralph Santolla worship. I guess he’s good but I don’t find him to be an extraordinary guitarist.

  4. Commented by: Desperado

    Great review Erik!!And not because I love this band and album,and their back catalogue.Xecutioner’s Return is/was my favorite of theirs,I love the songs and Santolla’s leads.I find it nice to see a positive review for this album cause so many goober elitists just piss on the band.Screw em’!I am a metalhead,meaning I can enjoy different styles and takes on the various genres.Thankfully a clouded mind doesn’t prevent me from enjoying so many great bands.

  5. Commented by: Chunt

    This album is so incredibly boring. How does this band still churn out stuff after all this time? Who still buys their records?

  6. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    I bought this album today…and was flabbergasted when it kicked my ass. I wasn’t expecting a lot, truth be told, because Frozen In Time was a bit of a disapointment. However this album is a BIG step up. If you’re an Obituary fan, or for that matter, a fan of standard no-thrills death metal…get this albim immediately. Or you miss out.

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