Obituariy's recording history has been a hit and miss affair. From the much loved Slowly We Rot, Cause of Death and The End Complete, to the experimental World Demise (one of my personal favourites), to the lukewarm Back from The Dead.
And there was their almost 10-year hiatus from the Metal Word, only to return in 2005 with a reasonable, if somewhat fizzled, Frozen in Time, which sounded as if it was recored in a toilet, but that is my own opinion on that matter. But, they resurrected my deceased hopes when they offered forth Xecutioner's Retun in 2007.
And that now brings us to the recent album, Darkest Day.
The opening riff of List of the Dead immediatly perked my interest, as it starts with a subduded far-off guitar and drum intro, only to open up on my ears into the familiar and safe realms that Obituary are known and loved for. But in truth, the one element that I always wait to hear are the state of John Tardy's vocals, for in some recordings they suffer in the mix and volume. Not this time.
Tardy's chords and tone have always stood him apart from the rest of the death metal world, as he goes more the old school wail and moan aproach, as opposed to the more familiar gurgle that 97% of death metal vocalists use. This is mostly effective on the second number Blood to Give, which in some ways reminds me of Chopped in Half from 1990's Cause of Death.
The drumming of his brother Donald has always been adequate and functionary, again more being part of the mix rather that the "Robot Trigger/octopus-man" that todays slew of drummers offer, and there is something comforting in that. Payback displays his metronome like abilities, with double bass thumping away like an Bosun on a Longship.
The string work of Trevor Peres and Ralph Santolla is as chunky as a dismembered torso of a Sumo!
In fact, the entire vibe of this album is a melange of thier works of past, reanimated in a Frankenstinian way, to lurch forth upon the world and inspire fear with its visage.
The bass work of Frank Watkins is so detuned, one imagines the strings flailing around the studio, beheading virgin schoolgirls at will, of which i'm sure they have an ample supply for such occasions.
The title track Darkest Day is champagne Obituary, if the champagne in question is fermented blood of vicars! Like the foul winds of misfortune, it eminates from my earphones setting me on edge, as well as freeing up my bowels in the process. The same can be said for Field of Pain, and Violent Dreams, both stamped with the Obies brand of gurgling musical dispepsia.
So, if you are a fan of this great deah metal act, or simply yearn to pass last nights dodgy Vindaloo, then Darkest Day is for you! Five Scooped out skulls!!!!
Obituary's Darkest Day is out on 16 June 2009, on Candlelight/Modern Invasion Music.