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Metal - Released March 17, 2017 | Relapse Records

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Death metal pioneers Obituary's 2017 self-titled record marks their tenth full-length studio album. Three decades into their career, Obituary show no signs of compromise on a collection that is as heavy as anything they've committed to tape. The follow-up to 2014's Inked in Blood was recorded at the band's own studio in Tampa, Florida, and its release was preceded by the lead single "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" and an accompanying animated video directed by Balázs Gróf. © Bekki Bemrose /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 10, 1997 | Roadrunner Records

If death metal first came to life during the mid- to late '80s courtesy of bands like Florida's Death (Scream Bloody Gore), another Florida band, Obituary, brought it to fruition in 1989 with Slowly We Rot. These five guys took what groups like Death and the San Francisco Bay Area's Possessed had done to a new level of deathliness. The music of Obituary wasn't simply an extreme form of Slayer-esque speed metal with ghastly vocals; it was full-fledged death metal, with down-tuned guitar riffs of monstrous size, painful-sounding growls and moans for vocals, and distinct tempo changes that often brought the songs down to a lumbering doomy tempo rather relentlessly breakneck speeds à la thrash. These innovations don't seem so revolutionary now, given the innumerable death metal bands that arose during the '90s and beyond, to the point where the style practically burned itself out, spinning off into a variety of substyles. But in 1989, Obituary were blazing a new trail, along with other Florida peers like Morbid Angel and, a bit later, Deicide, Malevolent Creation, and Cannibal Corpse. The guitar riffing of Trevor Peres (rhythm) and Allen West (lead) is downright pummeling, especially when they slow the tempo down to a crawl and chug along. But it's John Tardy's unearthly growling that stands out most and attracted the most attention at the time. Put simply, the guy sounds like he's in pain, as if a knife were stuck in his stomach or something. It's Obituary's trademark sound and what set them apart from their legion of followers. Add to this the production of up-and-comer Scott Burns, and you have the blueprint for a generation of death metal bands to come. Granted, Burns' production isn't quite as brutally crystalline as it would be in successive years. In fact, it's downright lo-fi here, lacking the high highs and low lows that would later become his trademark, but these were the early days and budgets were small. A few songs here stand out, mainly the first few, the title track especially, yet Obituary never were a singles band and their albums were better experienced from beginning to end rather than in pieces. And Slowly We Rot certainly stands up well to beginning-to-end listening. Given the intensity of the music, it's a mixed blessing that the album runs short, as do most Obituary albums, though there are a lot of songs here, some of them just a couple minutes long. Relative to what Obituary would accomplish in the years to come, Slowly We Rot is one of their best albums, certainly their most inspired, though the production values mar it a little. Still, it's a historically significant album all the same, not only in the context of Obituary's career but, more importantly, in the context of death metal in general. This is partly where it all began -- here and across the Atlantic, where the grindcore bands of Earache were carving out their own niche, one that would soon overlap with that of Obituary and their peers. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Metal - Released October 27, 2014 | Relapse Records

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The ninth studio long-player from the Tampa-based American death metal veterans, the Relapse Records-issued and Kickstarter co-funded Inked in Blood finds the feral Floridians parting ways with longtime bass player Frank Watkins and bringing bassist Terry Butler and lead guitarist Kenny Andrews into the fold. Four years in the making, the 12-track collection of all-new material, which dutifully employs the group's signature blend of decibel-crushing, slow-burn intensity and lyrical malevolence, was written, recorded, and mixed at the band's own RedNeck Studio in Gibsonton, Florida. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 11, 2005 | Roadrunner Records

The return of Obituary in 2005 came as a surprise, for the band hadn't been active since the mid-'90s. They sort of petered out after World Demise in 1994, releasing the ho-hum Back from the Dead in 1997 and then calling it a day as the bandmembers busied themselves elsewhere, most visibly as guitarist Allen West enjoyed a lot of success in Six Feet Under. Obituary's reunion album, Frozen in Time, wasn't only a surprise because of the long absence, though. It also came as a surprise because it's so darn good, up there with the best the band ever recorded, even in their heyday. Clocking in at a brisk ten songs in 35 minutes, Frozen in Time is a perfect Obituary album -- almost so perfect it invites such criticisms as "more of the same." But more of the same is perfectly fine when it's done this well, especially for longtime fans nostalgic for the good ol' days of death metal. Obituary never were a band to push the boundaries, after all -- avant-garde death metal they were not. Then again, there was a day when they were cutting-edge, that is, way back in 1989 when they debuted with Slowly We Rot, a trailblazing statement for its time and one that inspired a legion, if not legions, of followers. In subsequent years Obituary kept doing what they do well, even as they became increasingly passé with time. Yet passé or not, they do what they do especially well on Frozen in Time. The pummeling guitar tandem of West and Trevor Peres shines brilliantly, each of them co-penning half the album respectively. Vocalist John Tardy sounds as wicked as he did back in the day, his trademark growl still intact despite the years of wear and tear. And the rhythm section sounds perfectly integrated, partly thanks to Mark Prator's first-rate production (and that trademark Morrisound mixing courtesy of the maestro himself, Scott Burns). There's really no need to go on about the details of how the band sounds here, though -- it sounds like Obituary, plain and simple. What's important to know is that the guys really seem into it here, writing killer songs, benefiting from the best production out there, and playing their asses off ("On the Floor," "Back Inside," "Mindset," and "Lockjaw" are all highlights). If it sounds like "more of the same," that's the point. After one album in a decade, it's a blessing to have Obituary back together and sounding this stellar. If you're a fan -- new or old -- you'll absolutely love Frozen in Time. It's as good if not better than any of the band's other albums. It's so good, in fact, the title could well refer to the sound of the band: sounding as if death metal were still as vibrant and exciting as it was back in the early to mid-'90s when Obituary were the shiznit and a thousand and one young Scandinavians were taking notes by candlelight. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 10, 1997 | Roadrunner Records

Lead guitarist Allen West didn't join Obituary for their second album, Cause of Death, which makes a bigger difference than you might expect. His replacement is a close associate of the band, James Murphy of the band Death -- the man many consider to be the godfather of death metal -- and he brings his own style to Cause of Death, resulting in an album that sounds like a hybrid of Obituary and Death. This isn't necessarily bad; in fact, it's somewhat fascinating, especially for metalheads well immersed in the Florida school of death metal. You can hear Murphy's influence throughout the album, as he often leads the band into eerie dirge-like moments that sound like the eye of the storm at hand. Murphy's contribution to Cause of Death aside, not much else has changed in the year since Obituary's 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot. The vocals of John Tardy still dominate the proceedings, the drastic tempo changes still set Obituary apart from the majority of their peers of the time, and producer Scott Burns still struggles with seemingly low-budget values that actually sound worse than they did on Slowly We Rot (not in a good, lo-fi way, either). The band's songwriting -- handled almost entirely by Tardy, rhythm guitarist Trevor Peres, and drummer Donald Tardy, with the exception of a Celtic Frost cover, "Circle of the Tyrants" -- has become a bit more progressive (perhaps because of Murphy's influence), as several songs top the five-minute mark (none did previously, averaging a couple minutes less per song) and take more twists and turns than before. These slight differences certainly distinguish Cause of Death from its landmark predecessor, and you can quibble about which approach is better, as many fans have and always will. In the end, Cause of Death is still a great album for its time. Remember, this is 1990 -- still way at the dawn of death metal. And though Obituary would make big strides forward with The End Complete in a year and a half, Cause of Death is nonetheless an intriguing album, especially from a historical perspective. It's not one of the band's best, but it's definitely one of their most interesting and, along with Slowly We Rot, their most distinct. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 19, 2012 | Roadrunner Records

Florida death metal gods Obituary breathed new life (no pun intended) into the genre when they broke onto the scene in 1989 with their groundbreaking debut, Slowly We Rot. Donald Tardy's breakneck technical drumming and John Tardy's guttural, slithering vocals combined with brutally fast guitars for a sound not quite ever equaled in the death metal world before or since. The Complete Roadrunner Collection 1989-2005 gathers together Obituary's first six studio albums, including their stellar debut, 1992's landmark The End Complete, 1997's Back from the Dead, and more. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 18, 1998 | Roadrunner Records

Clocking in at a taut nine songs in 39 minutes without a second of filler, The End Complete may be the definitive Obituary album. The band's third, it marks the return of lead guitarist Allen West and it also marks an impressive leap forward in production. The songwriting and playing on Obituary's past albums had been commendable, and The End Complete is no exception in that regard. Rather, it's the return of West and the remarkable production job by Scott Burns that sets this album apart from its predecessors. The return of West is important not only because his solos are one of the band's trademarks but also because he's an integral songwriter, here co-penning four of the nine songs. Burns' crystal-clear, in-your-face production is not to be underestimated, either. If anything had marred Obituary's past two albums, both of them otherwise excellent, it was the murkiness of the sound, especially the drums. That's not an issue here at all, however, as Obituary have never sounded this great. The guitar tones especially are downright vivid, particularly when West and rhythm guitarist Trevor Peres depart from one another such as during the solos (the title track is a great showcase for this, and so is "Rotting Ways"). You can practically feel the respective guitar tones buzzing through your head, they're so well recorded. And so are John Tardy's vocals, which are sometimes overdubbed to make them all the more potent and nuanced. They're so well recorded, in fact, you can actually understand some of the lyrics! Overall, there really isn't anything to complain about here. Sure, nine songs in a brisk 39 minutes might not be enough for those who can't get enough of Obituary's textbook style of death metal, but this is such a powerful album that even seasoned metalheads can get exhausted quickly. And besides, Obituary may be one of death metal's greatest bands ever, granted, but they're generally not the most varied or experimental. So too many more songs or too much more music, and the proceedings could begin to get increasingly monotonous, a problem that has plagued innumerable death metal albums over the years. But that's not an issue here, thankfully; the primary issue instead seems to be just how Obituary could top an album such as The End Complete. Its two predecessors, Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death, had been near perfect and were quickly deemed classics of the early death metal era. But here the band has done itself one better, bringing West back into the fold and getting a better production job from Burns, and the result is arguably the definitive Obituary album and, consequently, a prototypical death metal album. It don't get much better than this, folks. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 18, 1998 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released October 21, 2016 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 7, 2017 | Relapse Records

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Rock - Released April 20, 1998 | Roadrunner Records

A typical product of the fertile Floridian death metal scene, Obituary never quite matched the success of their peers, Death or Morbid Angel, but they managed to churn out a decent number of competent albums early on in their career nonetheless. Later plagued by diminishing interest from both their fans and among the bandmembers themselves (effectively splitting up for nearly three years), the group stumbled through the mid-'90s in distracted fashion, and it is no surprise that Dead -- a career-spanning live album -- seems like little more than an afterthought. Containing such amusingly titled career highlights as "Chopped in Half," "I'm in Pain," and "Cause of Death," the disc showcases the group's unusually sluggish death metal style, made all the more special by vocalist John Tardy's inimitable (and incomprehensible) growl -- which, peculiarly, sounds as though he himself is repulsed by the words he is croaking. And perhaps most ironic, it's the blinding ferocity of later-day gem "Threatening Skies" and early-days favorite "Slowly We Rot" -- two of the disc's rare, full-on thrashers -- that leave the most lasting impressions. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 14, 1997 | Roadrunner Records

Obituary returns after a three-year layoff from the studio just as heavy as ever, and not much different. Back from the Dead is another collection of detuned, heavy riffs backed by powerful drumming, and John Tardy's vocals still sound as if he is in immense pain. Ultimately, though, it's the riffs that matter on an Obituary record, not sweeping stylistic overhauls, and Back from the Dead delivers exactly what longtime listeners are looking for, even if other listeners might be turned off by the lack of dynamic contrasts. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 8, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

Florida death metal legends Obituary get the "greatest hits" treatment with the lazily titled yet undeniably brutal Best of Obituary. As far as death metal acts go, the influential Tampa-based quintet made it up as they went along, blasting through pre-stoner metal epics like 1990s "Cause of Death" and blistering thrash offerings like "On the Floor" (2005) and "'Til Death" (1989) without missing a beat, paving the way for the myriad heavy metal subgenres that would occupy the post-millennium age of rock. Lyrically, Obituary eschewed the usual Satan-obsessed diatribes of black metal with the kind of blood and guts, entrails-centric prose that would go on to inform the burgeoning grindcore scene, and it's that mix of unpredictability and mayhem that finds them name-dropped by countless new acts. At 13 tracks, Roadrunner's Best of pales in comparison to 2001's 20-track Anthology, but while the former features nothing from 2007's excellent Xecutioner's Return, the latter's release date omits anything from the band's 2005 comeback album, Frozen in Time. Truth be told, either one is a solid kick in the head, as both feature Obituary classics like "Internal Bleeding" and the "End Complete," it's just that one has boots a few sizes bigger. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 15, 2001 | Roadrunner Records

Roaring out of the Florida swamps with a very different approach than their contemporaries, Obituary was one of the ugliest bands to appear in the death metal scene during the '80s. Joining the ranks of Morbid Angel, Death, Sepultura, and Entombed as the biggest acts in the genre, Obituary tended to let their music crawl forth, forgoing the blast beats and tempo changes for a slower and more deliberate assault. They also threw politics and Satanism out the window, replacing the usual lyrical topics with songs about blood and guts. Most of their notable tracks can be found on Anthology, the career retrospective that shows how effective their sound was and how little it changed throughout their career. From the vicious and primitive "Find the Arise" to the eerie Venom cover "Buried Alive," they never really did try to do anything new. What they did do is perfect the sludgy, lazy thud that their sound was based in and manage to fine tune it into an effective musical weapon. Due to their constant use of producer Scott Burns, they also had the chance to perfect the production style they were looking for, eventually coming up with a sharp roar that first really appeared on 1992's The End Complete. Their work on that record was the result of two ugly but influential albums that burned up the underground and allowed them to grow into a more mature and complex outfit. This period is covered in the first nine tracks, which may have weaker production but also contain a raw sound that slowly escaped the band through time. Three tracks make it from The End Complete, acting as a centerpiece between rougher periods. After that, they really had no place to go, and the final eight tracks are mostly just the best singles from otherwise uninspired or average albums. Still, every song here is a classic example of the slower side of death metal, showcasing the acidic dirges of a band that played out its usefulness but also knew to call it quits while they were still good. This is classic death metal from one of the genre's greats. © Bradley Torreano /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 2, 2009 | Roadrunner Records

The return of Obituary in 2005 came as a surprise, for the band hadn't been active since the mid-'90s. They sort of petered out after World Demise in 1994, releasing the ho-hum Back from the Dead in 1997 and then calling it a day as the bandmembers busied themselves elsewhere, most visibly as guitarist Allen West enjoyed a lot of success in Six Feet Under. Obituary's reunion album, Frozen in Time, wasn't only a surprise because of the long absence, though. It also came as a surprise because it's so darn good, up there with the best the band ever recorded, even in their heyday. Clocking in at a brisk ten songs in 35 minutes, Frozen in Time is a perfect Obituary album -- almost so perfect it invites such criticisms as "more of the same." But more of the same is perfectly fine when it's done this well, especially for longtime fans nostalgic for the good ol' days of death metal. Obituary never were a band to push the boundaries, after all -- avant-garde death metal they were not. Then again, there was a day when they were cutting-edge, that is, way back in 1989 when they debuted with Slowly We Rot, a trailblazing statement for its time and one that inspired a legion, if not legions, of followers. In subsequent years Obituary kept doing what they do well, even as they became increasingly passé with time. Yet passé or not, they do what they do especially well on Frozen in Time. The pummeling guitar tandem of West and Trevor Peres shines brilliantly, each of them co-penning half the album respectively. Vocalist John Tardy sounds as wicked as he did back in the day, his trademark growl still intact despite the years of wear and tear. And the rhythm section sounds perfectly integrated, partly thanks to Mark Prator's first-rate production (and that trademark Morrisound mixing courtesy of the maestro himself, Scott Burns). There's really no need to go on about the details of how the band sounds here, though -- it sounds like Obituary, plain and simple. What's important to know is that the guys really seem into it here, writing killer songs, benefiting from the best production out there, and playing their asses off ("On the Floor," "Back Inside," "Mindset," and "Lockjaw" are all highlights). If it sounds like "more of the same," that's the point. After one album in a decade, it's a blessing to have Obituary back together and sounding this stellar. If you're a fan -- new or old -- you'll absolutely love Frozen in Time. It's as good if not better than any of the band's other albums. It's so good, in fact, the title could well refer to the sound of the band: sounding as if death metal were still as vibrant and exciting as it was back in the early to mid-'90s when Obituary were the shiznit and a thousand and one young Scandinavians were taking notes by candlelight. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo