Obituary @ The Manning Bar (Sydney), November 20th, 2009

On a muggy and rainy evening, Floridian death metallers Obituary hit Sydney to deliver a solid & blistering set that proved why they are one of the stalwarts of their genre.

Australia has been quite fortunate on the live touring front at the moment, plenty of bands are taking the opportunity to play here for the first time or in Obituary's case, come back for another (yet brief) 5 city / 5 date visit and the Sydney date was smack-bang in the middle.

It was a hot and muggy evening as the punters lined up outside the Manning Bar, upon walking inside the turnout seemed a bit low, but that did not stop opening act - The Blue Mountains' own Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - from putting on a good performance. They stormed through a set of their grind metal, which has a modern twist to it, comprised of various cuts from their EP and debut album Extinction: Salvation, alongside some new material from their upcoming untitled release. Vocalist Bart is like a man possessed on stage and covered every square inch of the stage. If you like your grind with a twist of modern metal, BTBG are up your alley.

After a brief change over, Sydney's grind merchants Ebolie took to the stage and delivered a set of their own unique styling of grindcore mixed with an element of humour. Frontman Bubsy is quite an interesting character on stage, he can deliver a sick growl one minute then take the piss out of a punter the next minute with ease, if Ebolie doesn't stick it out, Bubsy would be perfect for stand up comedy. But it seemed like it was a hard decision for most punters at times to either headbang or piss themselves laughing.

After Ebolie finished their set, the room started to fill up a bit more and a lot of people were also coming in from the outside bar getting psyched up for a death metal onslaught, Florida-style, from the mighty Obituary. Not too long after a brief soundcheck, the band hit the stage and slammed right into the first two cuts from their latest effort Darkest Day in List Of Dead and a crushing rendition of Blood To Give, which sounded absolutely massive live even if lead guitarist Ralph Santolla's rig decided to cut out towards the end of the song; but he got through it. Just after the brief break after the encore, he and drummer Donald Tardy both took to the spotlight and each had a solo displaying some finely refined chops to the delight of the crowd.

Their hour-set seemed to really fly by and was compromised of a bit of everything, mixing the old material such as Dying, Threatening Skies, The End Complete, Final Thoughts alongside newer material such as the aforementioned cuts from Darkest Day, the title track itself, Forces Realign, On The Floor, Slow Death, Evil Ways and Face Your God.

The band themselves were very tight and really had the groove going on stage. As Obituary does rely on the groove, the rhythm section has to nail it and that they did, guitarist Trevor Peres, bassist Frank Watkins and drummer Donald Tardy locked in and stormed through the set with ease. On the last tour, the band were unfortunately missing their lead guitarist Allen West from the lineup due to legal issues; since then, guitar maestro Ralph Santolla has stepped in and has taken to the role with ease, nailing the lead parts as if they were simple fretboard runs while adding his own twists. Vocalist John Tardy was in fine form, nailing his unique sludge like vocal lines being buried behind a sea of hair while stalking the stage, he thanked Sydney quite a few times and seemed quite happy to be there.

After the set, the general consensus between the punters was a positive one and most walked away happy,  but the biggest and really only complaint from many was that Chopped In Half was omitted from the setlist but that and technical difficulties aside, Obituary delivered a solid and precise set to a decent sized crowd and let's hope they will be able to return to Australia to make us feel the blood spill from our mouth.