Obituary/The Best Of [Roadrunner Records]

Obituary are a Death Metal band from Tampa. Florida. Formed in 1985, the band was developmental in the genre of modern day Death Metal. According to Nielsen/Soundscape, the band is the 5th best selling Death Metal band of all time. Although the band has broken up numerous times, they are current and released a CD of new material in June of 2009. The band has released 8 studio recordings.

Internal Bleeding—-Beginning with a huge ominous tone, the music greets you right alongside the guttural welcome. The sound of the recording is fantastic and the layers of sound almost overwhelming. The vocal is a nice mix between guttural tirades and a practised utterance on understandability. The band has an odd delivery when it comes to song structure, it is moody and move able…unlike many current Death Metal bands that give you a pure 3 minutes of noise. This is really great. Classic and evolutionary.

‘Til Death—-still sounding muted, musically, the song has a nice tempo that is not quite equal to modern day Death Metal. You could tell, through the message, that this band was breaking ground. The music has a great moderate pace that is really accessible and the vocal is somewhat clear and practised. This is awesome to hear again!!

Slowly We Rot—-Coming out of complete darkness, the song has a nice slow dirge that is accompanied by some nice funeral bells that toll of in the backdrop. The vocal is a heavily overlayedaffair that is almost seemingly double tracked lines of the exact same lyric…this is nice!!! The song has that bass heavy sound that made Black Sabbath so huge, and then mid tempo takes on a Suicidal Tendencies speed that reminds you of the old days. The song is back and forth and that just makes it all the better. The deep sound, perhaps due to the age of the recording, should have been ‘brightened’ during production.

Cause Of Death—-The intro to the song paints a really dark picture as the thunder rolls and the bells toll. The music enters the fray and has an almost death-blues feel to it. The guitar solo literally soars…it is classic and beautiful. The high hats of the drums accent the guitar and the vocal enter with an even deeper dirge than on previous tracks. The mood of the song is heavy and dark and the sound is a little to deep for my tastes, but works to a masterful effect. As the music speeds, the vocal comes at you in rushed bursts that pleases you ear and makes you head spin. This is classic stuff and where it all began.

Chopped In Half—-Coming at you in bursts from the onset, once the guitar settles in it is a pure Metallica inspired free for all. The sound is still a little deep and dense, but the guitar shines through the heaviness of the bass guitar. The drums are exceptional and show how important this band was to the world of Death Metal. They definitely laid the ground work and this song is a perfect example of how they managed this.

Turned Inside Out—-The sound of this song seems almost brighter and lighter. The production quality is much improved and the band does not sound as if the are recording in a padded room. The drums and the guitars are clearer and seem more pronounced. The vocal is still a rather serious affair, but the music alone makes this track classic. The tempo shifts are expert and the overall mood really scary…..EXCELLENT!!!!

The End Complete—-Even the vocal on this particular song sounds much better recorded. as technology improved, so did the sound of the band. Although the vocal does not quite match upo to modern day Cannibal Corpse, you can tell that this is how it all started. Oddly enough, the song ends with a rather abrupt fade out that leaves you feeling like you missed something.

I’m In Pain—-Drum heavy, the song is driven by the percussion section of the band alone. The vocal is clear and almost at a level where you can actually pick up some of the lyrics!!! The song still has a deep, deep sound to it, but the guitar solo actually soars and leaves you feeling energized and refreshed. This is great!!!

Don’t Care—-Instrumentally, the song is a tour de force of sound. The tempo and time changes are admirable. The vocal seems a tad bit more crowded, but the drums are a masterful instrument on this track. The guitars are clear and soaringand leave you head reeling. The bass is over powering and played with a genius approach. Awesome!!

Final Thoughts—-Much more aggressive from the very first notes, this is a well practised band that knows exactly what it’s fans want. This is extra-ordinary just for the barrage of musical mayhem alone. The vocal is a grand over lay ed affair that leaves you head turning from speaker to speaker to catch every word that is being uttered. This is excellence in extremely fast motion.

Kill For Me—-Building slowly, the production on this track is excellent. Again, the vocal seems to be enhanced by over lays and tracking. The sound of the band is one of masterful musicianship. These are well rehearsed musicians who started at the very beginning of the movement and progressed to keep up with the best of the new breed. The tempo changes, the subtle guitar squeals are incredible…again…why the sudden fade out? Making me feel as if missed something.

Threatening Skies—-A return to the lack of shiny production, does not diminish the shine of the band at all. Although the sound is much deeper, it somehow sounds even more menacing and scary. This is superb!!!

On The Floor—-Faster, and a tad more on the brutal side, the band continues to show why they are so popular among us ‘Death Heads’. The sound, as brutal as it is, is very accessible and passable to the heavy metal crowd. This song has a particular hook that keeps it interesting and the vocal supplies all the menace that is needed. Nice!

**** out of 5


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