Monday, 16 January 2023

ALBUM REVIEW: Obituary, "Dying of Everything"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/01/2023
Label: Relapse Records

“Dying of Everything” CD//CS//DD/LP track listing:
1). Barely Alive
2. The Wrong Time
3). Without a Conscience
4). War
5). Dying of Everything
6). My Will To Survive
7). By The Dawn
8). Weaponize The Hate
9). Torn Apart
10). Be Warned
The Review:
Obituary- Florida’s death metal merchants par excellence are back. If the last self-titled album was a rather anthemic collection of death metal, “Dying of Everything” is perhaps a little murkier and a little darker. I rated the previous album very highly- not least because it seemed energised and turbo charged in a way that, say, “Inked In Blood”, was not. The core of the band remains intact- Donald and John Tardy alongside the perennial axeman Trevor Peres. Most recent joining member, Ken Andrews, is firmly embedded here on guitar and pops up in the writing credits while the formidable low end of Death alumni Terry Butler fills out the line-up.
Obituary are a unique proposition within death metal. No one else sounds like them. They mix death, doom, mid tempo grooves and the inimitable vocals of John Tardy into a swampy concoction that is immensely heavy, occasionally catchy, sometimes fast but never hyper speed.
As is the band’s way, “Barely Alive” opens things here; it’s a characteristically speedy start with Don firing on all cylinders and the band sounding fired up. The production is massive- serious low end and large drum sizes coalescing to make a thunderous racket.
From there, the band runs through an admirable gamut of styles. “The Wrong Time” is catchy and grooves in the mid tempo range. “Without Conscience” is prime Obituary while “War” slows things down and echoes 1994’s “World Demise” with its pacing and main riff hammered home ad nauseum. Obituary’s appeal lies in their ability to come up with surprisingly straightforward and catchy songs; often repetitive but never boring- they are masters of their fairly minimalist craft.
Ever since “Slowly We Rot”, the band have trodden a different path to their peers. When other bands were getting faster and faster, Obituary slowed down even more. While classic records like “Cause of Death” yielded live staples like “Chopped In Half” and The End Complete” offered up a particularly bleak and downtuned vision of the world, the band later records are just as compelling. “Frozen In Time” rules. “Xecutioner’s Return” was monstrously weighty, “Darkest Day” was prime Obituary, their self titled work was believed by many to be as defining as “SWR” and so on. The band have never really put a foot wrong- other than splitting up a couple of times… but even then the comeback records have been worth the wait.
The one thing that quality has bread is a difficulty to differentiate between albums and eras beyond the first. Much like Motorhead and Overkill- or even Cannibal Corpse closer to home, Obituary have never really made a bad album, but they remain defined to some fans by their earliest work. They have their own slot, their own groove and sound and remain one of a kind.
As “Dying of Everything” progresses, the band continue to do what they do best- simple riffing, massive drums, insane vocals… it’s all here. If you have listened to Obituary in the past and not been convinced or won over, it’s unlikely that this record will change that. If you have liked any of the band’s albums, you’ll like this one.
Whether you are here for the slow-paced crushing songs like “My Will To Live” or the slightly more sprightly “By The Dawn”, your tastes will be catered for. My only wish is that the band would put the pedal to the metal a bit more often. I like when Obituary speeds up and thrashes out. You are always guaranteed a fast opener, but it would be nice if the band exceeded the speed limit more often.
That said, you cannot argue with the double bass drum grooves of “Weaponize The Hate”, the swagger of the title track or any of the lead work on offer here. It’s prime Obituary- and very heavy indeed. The record concludes with “Torn Apart” and “Be Warned”- rounding out 45 minutes- or thereabouts- of Floridian death metal that is simultaneously familiar and brand new.
So where does this sit in the pantheon of Obituary records- now stretching back to the 80s(!). Hmm. I think that “Dying of Everything” is probably going to settle as a mid-table/high mid-table showing. It’s not as instant as the self-titled record and not as vicious as “Frozen In Time” but the songs are good throughout and it’s reliably heavy, murky, dark and with all expected Obituary-isms operating in the upper gears. If you like the band, it’s essential listening. If you have never heard Obituary (?!?) then you can pick this album and get the idea. There are few bands at the very top table of the death metal genre, Obituary reserved their place well over thirty years ago and remain there to this day. No mean feat.
“Dying of Everything” is available HERE 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook