Seminal Florida death metal band Obituary are finally putting out a self-titled album and their tenth overall. Obituary have remained together for the most part and the brothers Tardy are a driving force as per usual. This is also bassist Terry Butler’s second album with the band after an illustrious death metal career with Death, Massacre and Six Feet Under.
So what has happened with Obituary since Inked In Blood? A run on the Decibel magazine tour is forthcoming, but other than that the well seems to have run dry. Obituary is certainly an album that imbues the classic sound of the band and the production work here is marvelous as it doesn’t sound too overproduced; instead it comes across as organic. However, that is where the compliments end.
Obituary have reached a level of stagnation that makes the new material seems stale in comparison to their earliest works on Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death. The latter two are undeniable classics and Obituary is a death metal album that frankly could have been written by any band. The songs are a little too similar to one another and after ten versions of it, you are left wondering, “Is that all?” They seemingly run into each other and if not for hearing a slightly different riff, you might not realize that the song is a new one.
For Obituary to continue they may need to take a few risks as they are being outdone by newer bands in the scene; bands they also clearly influenced. For the time being Obituary remain an excellent live band, whose best recorded material is clearly in the past. Obituary is still the Celtic Frost influenced death metal you have loved since 1989. This corpse may have rotted slowly, but at this point there is not much left. This is not essential Obituary, nor is it essential death metal in 2017.
(released March 17, 2017 on Relapse Records)