Legendary Obituary unload grim serving of death metal comfort food with ‘Dying of Everything’

Photo by Tim Hubbard

Dependability can be a good quality, and when it comes to long-running death metal institution Obituary, that’s exactly what you get every time out. They’ve been at this thing for about 35 years now, which is one hell of a run for a band that keeps amassing followers and hasn’t lost a fraction of a step of their intensity and execution. They’re as dependable as they come.

We are soon to have their 11th record “Dying of Everything” in our hands, their first since their 2017 self-titled effort, and it’s Obituary through and through. You’re not going to be terribly surprised by anything you hear on these 10 new mashers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. No weird angles, no strange twists and turns, and just warm, damp, bloody death metal that sounds only like this legendary beast. The band—vocalist John Tardy, guitarists Trevor Perees and Ken Andrews, bassist Terry Butler, drummer Donald Tardy—sounds alive and thriving, blasting their way through this record that destroys your senses and delivers an ample serving of death metal with Obituary’s disgusting blend of bloody spices.

“Barely Alive” opens the record and pummels with force, vicious howls lacing your veins and a simple chorus landing effectively. Slayer-style riffs light the fires, the soloing goes off, and another run through the chorus batters your bones. “The Wrong Time” changes the pace as it’s doomy and hazy, trudging as the vocals pierce your eardrums. The energy is great and chugging through the whole thing, leads search the stars for answers, and things change up at the end, mangling and thrashing to the finish. “Without a Conscience” arrives in a wave of noise, taking on a hardcore feel, which is not alien territory for Obituary. “Without the price of free speech ratings, I’ll put an end to you, within the price of blood spilled feedings, I’ll put an end to you,” Tardy wails as the pressure increases, and the song drowns out in sounds of warfare. Speaking of which, “War” follows and continues the onslaught, crushing thrash and calculated bruising coming out of the sounds of combat. The playing is sinister and steady, landing blows to your midsection and charging viciously. Suddenly, the track goes acoustic but only for a breath as things get back to slaughtering as Tardy’s howls devastate, and the final jolts grind your teeth. The title track clubs as riffs chug, and the force becomes a problem. The verses are spat out as the leads glimmer in the murk, the playing bubbling in acid. “Patronize the living in a dark and dying world, recognizing evil as a darkened tale unfolds,” Tardy howls as the guitars take on a techy sharpness, bashing with start/stop drubbing that cuts off your air.

“My Will to Live” has a classic thrash feel as it rips from the gates, wah-infused guitars giving a psyche edge to bloody death. The playing is humid and thick, almost as if it literally rose from the swamps, and the playing later is caked in mud, lurching and pulling you under. “By the Dawn” feels like its boiling in oil as the first punches are thrown, and suddenly we’re in a battle royal. The playing is sludgy at times, while the guitars open things up and scorch flesh. The playing continues to increase the pressure, while Tardy’s madness overflows as he wails, “’l kill for the fun of killing and laugh when most would cry, alone in my connections and lies to justify.” “Weaponize the Hate” goes right for the throat, Tardy scalding, “Tell me what you need, I see, believe.” Guitars blaze as the pace hammers your face with fists coated in cinders, encircling and letting the madness sink in. Vile howls haunt, and the chorus strikes again, dragging you underwater. “Torn Apart” unloads with guttural slashing, a galloping pace, and guitars that aim to deface. The playing sweeps with vicious intent, coating the lungs with soot, crushing skulls and letting the life juice dry on the ground. Closer “Be Warned” delivers filthy guitars and as pace that feels like it’s melting. The growls lurch, Tardy howling, “Criticizing gods to be gone, visualizing ways to destroy, victimizing ways to decide, criminally waiting for law,” as fluid leads dream, and then monstrous mauling takes hold. Guitars scar as the playing corrodes, the final moment draining into the underground.

It’s not a criticism to say there aren’t a lot of surprises on an Obituary record, “Dying of Everything” included, but there’s something to be said for consistency. These 10 tracks are pure and true Obituary-style death metal, and every second of this thing totally delivers. There’s a reason people flock to the rotting altar of these death metal legends, and it’s because they’re dependable, destructive, and always willing to take you to your physical limit.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ObituaryBand/

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/b/obituary

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords