Obituary - Obituary review

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Band: Obituary
Album: Obituary
Release date: March 2017

01. Brave
02. Sentence Day
03. Lesson In Vengeance
04. End It Now
05. Kneel Before Me
06. It Lives
07. Betrayed
08. Turned To Stone
09. Straight To Hell
10. Ten Thousand Ways To Die
11. No Hope [deluxe edition bonus]

Following on from the comeback album that exceeded all expectations in Inked In Blood, the self-titled Obituary trades in on the band's name and legacy, as the music it contains sure isn't enough to carry forward the momentum generated by the band.

Perhaps it is because Inked In Blood raised my expectations and made me temporarily forget the fact that, since World Demise, the band's output had been patchy, and so to expect another high quality record was setting myself up for disappointment. While the band never plummeted to levels of awfulness that befell many in their scene, the band were inconsistent for much of their reunion, producing some classic tracks alongside other average works. While Obituary doesn't produce much in the way of classics of themselves, it maintains a level of quality that neither excels or crashes through the floor.

Probably the biggest issue I have with Obituary is the sound of it, sounding muffled, quiet and restrained, sounding more like entertainment than extremity; John Tardy in particular sounds miles away from his microphone and is devoid of all power as a result. The band sound confined and like they've been pushed together into a tight space, treading on each other's feet and not allowing each instrument to breathe and stand alone. The more I listen to this, the more I convince myself sonic claustrophobia is a thing and I'm developing it listening to the album. Peres and Andrews are at the forefront of the mix, but it's hard to pick them apart and listen to their parts in isolation given each instrument manages to somehow bleed into each other; it's only on occasion when someone plays something that steps out of line that you're able to identify something on its own.

The songs for the most part sound like pale retreads of their earlier work; where the band had once pushed the envelope, here it sounds like the band are mailing it in (the inclusion of "Ten Thousand Ways To Die" adds to this feeling). Perhaps owing to the production issues, but many of the songs don't differentiate themselves from each other or from the band's prior work, sounding like a vague outline of what had come before than new ideas in their own right. "Kneel Before Me", "Brave" et al sound like Obituary songs you've already heard before but done better; I'm not saying the band needed to change their identity or experiment, but give the songs something unique that differentiates them from your other work.

With all that said, Obituary isn't devoid of quality and even if the band are accused of resting on their laurels then that still means the music is of a high quality. "Betrayed" has a strong bouncy groove that allows Butler's bass to cut through for a switch up in approach that is refreshing. "Straight To Hell" features a jagged guitar riff that gives the song a rhythm that is enchanting and will draw you in as it plays out.

The band don't sound like they've lost their touch, indeed they're still a force to be reckoned with live, they are just unable to bring this quality to bear on Obituary and the record suffers as a result. While it isn't devoid of quality, there is little reason to hang around and listen to this album when the band have put out other records worthy of relistening. Hopefully the record will go down as a minor blip on the radar and the band are able to stand tall again and defy expectations once again.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 6

Written by omne metallum | 01.08.2020


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