Obituary. Godfathers of death metal. A band who have stubbornly refused to change an iconic sound for thirty plus years at this point, crafters of a MINIMUM of four classics of the genre, true legends of our time. Well, we’ve got a new album to consider as their latest entry, Dying Of Everything, makes its case to rest on the pantheon with its predecessors. It is out this month through the venerable Relapse Records.
I first want to make mention of the beautiful artwork, reputedly to be one of the final works of incredible artist Mariusz Lewandowski, whose work has graced some of the underground’s finest albums in the last few years. It seems fitting that, if it is his final piece, it is on an Obituary record.
You get no time to prepare, as Barely Alive boots the door off the hinges and grabs you by the throat. Galloping riffs thrash below the iconic growl of John Tardy, who is definitely becoming more lyrical (read, using actual words) since the early days of Slowly We Rot. As album openers go, this is an absolute stormer and leaves a high bar for the rest of the record to clear. The Wrong Time doesn’t follow up with a similar pace though, instead descending into a classic Obituary stomp that brings to mind, well, half of their back catalogue to be honest. That’s the thing with Obituary; their brand of death metal is incredibly self-referential but when you sound like that to start with, why wouldn’t you continue it?
Massive riffs, tortured howls, thrashy old school death and doomy stomps through poisonous swamps of filth…
Without A Conscience has one of the greatest steamroller groove riffs in the middle I have heard in years, the title track revels in its old school death metal charm and execution and My Way To Live adds even a touch of swelling atmospherics in places. Obituary may love that relentless low-end crunch and swagger, but they are far from a one trick pony these days. Their sound has become more assured with each release, ready to step up a little in technicality or dynamics from their early days of brutality when it is required. But it is still Obituary‘s classic sound first and foremost, beefed up by their home studio production, even with a little thrashy touch on the brilliant Torn Apart and the bulldozing finish to Be Warned‘s morbid crawl.
Dying Of Everything has all you could want from an Obituary record in 2023. Massive riffs, tortured howls, thrashy old school death and doomy stomps through poisonous swamps of filth. At the end of the day though, trying to fill a full review with variants of ‘It sounds like fucking Obituary so therefore it fucking kills and you should buy it’ is not as easy as you’d think, but it is the honest truth. Turns out that death metal legends are really hard to keep down these days, with Autopsy crushing 2022 and Obituary starting 2023 like this, who can possibly stop them?
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson