Reviewing legacy acts is always a tough proposition. On the one hand, a band like Obituary is legendary for a reason. On the other, more pragmatic hand, a band like Metallica is legendary as well, but not for any material since Charles in Charge was still on the air. So, does one take into account a band’s glory days when discussing their “we need something to sell on this tour” period?
The answer is no, and Obituary’s self-titled honks in every facet that an album can honk. This sounds like a band warming up to make a decent album, but instead decided to just release the warmup and call it a day. From the bland, uninspired chugga-chugga riffs to the unbearably repetitve song structures, there is nary an unswept corner of this that isn’t covered in the floor dander of a snoozefest.
Right from the gate, “Brave” sets the tone for a solid 7/10ths of what’s to come: riffing that’s just on this side of not dead, mediocre-to-poor drum fills and percussion in general that attempts to out-bore the lead guitar (and often succeeds), solos that sound like they were played entirely on a whammy bar, rounded out by a pretty decent performance from the lyricless assassin himself, John Tardy. That Tardy’s vocals sound as good as they do makes the overall package that much more of a letdown, though they also become incedibly repetitve through repetition (especially on “Turned to Stone,” possibly the most boring track on an album that could very easily be called O-BORE-tuary).
If the ratio presented earlier piques anyone’s curiosity, rest assured the other 3/10ths of the album are just as bad, but in a different fashion. “Lesson in Vengeance” has a bit of swamp-boogie swagger, but any goodwill is quickly dwindled through yet another repetition session bogged down in lackluster everything. Also, the end of the track, like many others, does the classic false-end and then four more bars thing. It’s irritating and wholly unnecessary, and yet it exists in perpetuity. “Betrayed” and “Straight to Hell” are so close to nu-metal in both quality of riff and tempo that it was upseting that the half-expectd vocal spot from Dez Fafarra never came to be.
There’s a reason bands such as Immolation, Cannibal Corpse, and Suffocation don’t get referred to as legacy’ acts: longevity isn’t a worrying factor in their creative output. Obituary seems to be headed down the Deicide/Six Feet Under path of making albums for the sake of new merchandising on their next tour, following up the also dull Inked in Blood with a sack of potatoes masquerading as an exciting new product. There is no other reason for this album to exist in 2017, and it’s likely to be as forgotten as the band’s last three or four, the titles of which aren’t important, much like the music.