Obituary
Inked in Blood

So here is the result of a $60,000 Kickstarter campaign: Some killer old-school death metal Andreas Marschall artwork, a killer production, and a killer Obituary album.

Pity that money could not have been used to fix John Tardy’s ragged vocal cords…

After these death metal legends quickly churned out three albums after reuniting in 2005 for the rather bland Frozen in Time, they waited 5 years between 2009s Darkest Day and the current notoriously kickstarter funded release, Inked In Blood. But the wait appears to have been worth it as Obituary, with a revamped line up (Death, Six Feet Under and Massacre veteran Terry Butler replaces Frank Watkins on bass and newcomer Kenny Andrews joins on guitars) appears energized, invigorated and as well, Obituary-ish as ever.

Like Cannibal Corpse, the band delivers exactly what you expect and exactly what you want from a veteran, dare I say legendary long running band that arguably helped start death metal as we know it today (and for me personally got introduced me to death metal as the 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot was the first death metal LP I purchased). The riffs are instantly recognizable as Obituary having that twisting, shambling Celtic Frost stomp and stagger that range from faster ragers as heard on short opener “Centuries of Lies”, “Violence” or “Minds of the World” to classic, trundling, train-like crawlers like the title track, “Violent by Nature” closer “Paralyzed With Fear” and personal favorite, “Deny You” which has almost the same simple catchy gait and pace as one of my favorite modern Obituary tracks, “Second Chance” from Xecutioner’s Return.

And while the Ralph Santolla leads are gone, Kenny Andrews adds some quick, clever melodic flourishes here and there (“Pain Inside”, “Violent By Nature”, “Back on Top” , “Deny You” and even a short acoustic bridge in ‘”Visions inside my Head”) such along with Trevor Peres’s rock steady rhythms that while very subtle give a little nuanced creativity to this grizzled (boy do they ever look grizzled) veterans.

The kickstarter campaign appears to have been put to good use as the Redneck Studios production is the biggest and cleanest the band has had since World Demise with a huge drum sound and thick churning guitars, forsaking a bit of the murk and filth of the bands last two releases. Sure Butler’s bass is a bit buried, but on a good loud stereo or decent headphone’s provides a beefy backdrop and aids Donald Tardy’s dominant drums.

Sure  a lot of the riffs sound recycled and could certainly have appeared on any past Obituary album in some way or another (i.e, “Within a Dying Breed”, “Out for Blood” “Visions Inside my Head”) but they still kill. And when not layered, Tardy has lost some of his bite, sounding really strained and high pitched at times and even being to the point of decipherable on almost every word, a long cry from the legendarily brutal vocals on the debut. But still, Inked in Blood is another successful post reunion return and shows death metal will always have trends and shifts, but its real, classic sound is ageless.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 27th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    I never thought I would ever hear anyone complain about John Tardy being “decipherable” hahaha. And by the way, there is a little correction that needs to be made to your review: where it says that Obituary “arguably helped start death metal as we know it today” you should substitute “arguably” for “unarguably”.


  2. Commented by: Jay

    I still need to check this out. I’m a longtime follower, but I’ve been slacking on this new one. Your review’s got me primed Erik. Kick ass man!

    Also, I’m a big fan of “Second Chance” myself. Killer song.


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