As a teenager in the mid to late 1980s, I was spending a lot of time soaking in what metal had to offer. Thrash bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Sepultura were played over and over again late into the night. But come my senior year in high school, my friends and I would discover a new storm of metal. This storm was Floridian death metal. I instantly fell in love with the sounds of heavily distorted and tuned down guitars, deep growling vocals and aggressive drumming. Soon the thrash bands had to share time on the stereo with bands such as Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, and especially the band who is the subject of this review, Obituary.
After five long years, Obituary and Relapse Records announced they would release their ninth full length album, “Inked In Blood,” which put a smile on my face. Now, I knew about the latest members to the lineup, bassist Terry Butler and guitarist Kenny Edwards, but this marked the first time these two were going to be in the recording studio making an Obituary album. So I crossed my fingers while pushing play on my iPod, because I always get a tad nervous when one of my favorite childhood bands releases a new album. I always fear that this could be the album that falls flat and sadly makes you say to yourself, “This sucks!! Maybe they should hang it up.”
So how was the new album, you ask? Should Obituary hang up their instruments and call it a day? HELL NO! Quite the opposite. I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor after listening to “Inked in Blood.” Bursting through the gate, Obituary starts your hair on fire with ‘Centuries of Lies’ and its thrashing tempo. The second track, ‘Violent by Nature,’ is a mid-tempo paced track graced with a lethal thick riff and a searing solo on the back end from guitarists Kenny Edwards and Trevor Peres. I feel ‘Pain Inside’ puts the spotlight on John Tardy‘s inhuman signature growling. They are as effective and scary as hell now as they were the first time I listened to them on Obituary’s debut album,”Slowly We Rot.” The death march riff on ‘Visions In My Head’ is so strong that you dare not stand in its way, for fear that you will be instantly stampeded. ‘Back on Top’ will cut a deep groove into your psyche with a deep rooted riff, Donald Tardy‘s crashing cymbals and John Tardy‘s relentless growls.
The title track and ‘Deny You’ deliver slower but deadly gut-churning riffs from Edwards, Peres and bassist Terry Butler, and the double bass is in abundance thanks to the skills of Donald Tardy. The riff that dominates, ‘Within A Dying Breed,’ is so powerfully raw and distorted that it violently shook the bones right out of my skin. It is a testament to Obituary‘s amazing musicianship that they can build on the strength of this brawny riff and transform the end of the track into a cataclysmic frenzy. Start swinging those elbows, and watch your back, as you run into snarling blood-thirsty random people in the circle pit with the combative, aggressive ‘Minds of the World.’ Obituary flexes its muscles on the final track, ‘Paralyzed,’ with Edwards, Peres and Butler‘s addictive chugging riffs, a solo that absolutely shreds, the ferocious double bass of Donald Tardy, and terrifying vocals from John Tardy that will make you sleep with one eye open.
“Inked In Blood” is an essential death metal album, so pick it up and blast it through your speakers. Your neighborhood will thank you. I always wanted to tag along with my Grandparents when they drove to Florida in the late 1980’s and early 90’s to escape the harsh winters, but I think I know the real reason why they went there. It wasn’t to escape the cold or to watch spring training baseball, they went to raise their horns up in the air while moshing at Obituary concerts.