I’m not sure what this record is supposed to be considered. Is it a single, an EP, a live record? It clearly is a stop gap until the next full length but marketing for it is not being clear. Regardless, the legendary Obituary is back with a new release entitled Ten Thousand Ways To Die. The album features two brand new tracks, Loathe and a title track, as well as eleven live tracks recorded during different stops of their North American tour earlier this year.

For the two studio tracks, which I believe are going to be part of the full length due out next year, it’s kind of hard to judge the material. I almost never review singles because all you get is a snippet of the idea. They could be the two turds of the record or they could be the two gems. However, this is what I was presented with so this is what I got to work with. I would say its split 50/50 in terms of being good. The album’s opener, Loathe, sounds like a classic Obituary song even down to a similar guitar tone that was found on some of the earlier records. It even contains limited lyrics like Tardy was known to do on some of those early albums. The title track on the other hand seems like this is a filler song for the record. It has a tribal like beat to go over that signature Obituary grove but it plods along never really going anywhere. It felt like the band was bored when writing and recording it. It’s this particular track that is giving me worries about how the album is going to end up sounding. It reminds me of the days of the Back From The Dead era of the band, which was an album that had a few decent songs (Threatening Skies is one of the best Obituary songs ever) but overall just lacked any gusto that has me revisiting. Hopefully this is just the one flub because the band is following up one hell of a record in Inked In Blood.

As for the rest, or should I say majority, of the album; it’s a pretty standard live record but I think it does a great job of capturing just how heavy and tight Obituary is live these days. Since pretty much each track is labeled as being from a different stop in the tour, I can only assume that these are the individual best performances of each song because the live stuff appears to be without many flaws. It’s also mixed well enough to make it sound vicious. High note is the split of Chopped In Half right into Turned Inside Out. The first time I listened to this particular part of the record, I was listening on my iPod while walking to my car from work. I had to actually think about how socially unacceptable it would have been to mosh at that particular moment, right there on the sidewalk, and decided to refrain.

Overall this is just a collector’s piece that needs to have every single release from the band. It’s a solid live record that happens to have two studio songs at the beginning instead of the end, but there are already a great live record (1998’s Dead) and a live DVD (Frozen Alive) for the band. We really didn’t need a third one, especially when a new full length is only a few months from arrival.