Written by: Blackie Skulless
The classic Florida death metallers Obituary have remained pretty constant over their several decade existence, whether or not their albums actually hold up. Being an outfit that plays things a bit too safe sometimes, their discography can certainly be spotty, but the bright side is that it leaves little room for outright failure. Their 2017 self-titled album was a solid slice of their business as usual displays, and six years later we get Dying Of Everything. The only difference is, they actually stepped out of their comfort zone more than they have in a very long time.
It admittedly takes little to expand upon Obituary’s brand of death metal, but them doing it to themselves worked wonders. For the most part, Dying Of Everything touches on a lot of what the more varied outings have given us in the recent decade. Using modern production tactics to the advantage of echo and haunting effects beside buzzing riffs made a world’s difference, rather than cleaning everything so much. The end result is a disc that boasts all of the sludgy, dense characteristics that made Slowly We Rot incredible with a refreshing new personality.
And with that, we’re going to put emphasis on the haunting effects. There’s a heightened doom presence that hasn’t been reached by any prior record, and the clarity in vocals almost allows certain areas to be catchier than they have any right being. Save for the blitzing opener “Barely Alive,” nearly the entire first half rides on clashing rhythms and an anger-fueled attitude that needs no speed to leave an impression. “Without A Conscience” and “War” pair together as one, both pressing that vocal hatred into some of the heaviest riffs the band has written. Percussion wise, things are matched with steady fills in the drawn out notes, with strong solos as clear as day to hook the ear right in.
It doesn’t stop there, because even the fast tunes carry the same weight. Unrelenting percussion showers in “By The Dawn” bring on new layers of crushing patterns, mixed in with steadier bridges. The title track swings right back into the energy of the opener, not only allowing things to glaze together nicely, but breaking up the pacing for a ferocious blow to the chest. Reverberations reach chilling levels on the closer “Be Warned,” stretching the notes and howls to harrowing levels, and it was the best way they could leave us.
Truly I can almost consider this a project working against all odds. An old death metal band who has a long history of crafting one-sided sounds utilizes modern production, and puts an album out that’s longer than 40 minutes (though it certainly doesn’t seem very long). That’s a recipe for a snoozefest that did the exact opposite, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Easily as good as any of the classic first couple of albums.
Obituary - Dying of Everything was released January 13th, 2023 via Relapse
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.