If I have to do an intro to Tampa’s Obituary, then your head has either been under a rock or up your own ass, which ever you prefer. With that said, these redneck metallers from the sunshine state are back with their 10th outing, 5th since their return from hiatus in 2005, and I feel it’s appropriate that they titled this landmark album simply Obituary. However, this isn’t your cool uncle’s Obituary; this is an entirely new beast.

Obituary has always been noted for 3 things. Their double bass heavy mid-paced groove, Jon Tardy’s demon vocals, and Trevor Peres’s fuzzy guitar tone. While some albums have been better than others, they never really strayed too far from the path. That seems to have changed in 2017. In Obituary, it appears the band has been rejuvenated and the energy gets channeled from their bodies into their instruments. The opening 2 tracks of the album, Brave and Sentence Day, are two of the fastest Obituary tracks in the bands entire catalog and with them come a new sense of melody that has never been present before. It’s almost like they spent some time listening to some of the Swedish metal acts from 2 decades ago and decided now was a good time to experiment with the sound. On paper it sounds like a odd inclusion but trust me, it works superbly. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, Obituary didn’t lose any sense of what got them to the dance and songs like Kneel Before Me, Turned To Stone, and Ten Thousand Ways To Die have all that thick groovy goodness that we have come to love and expect from the band. The new blend gives the album a much welcomed diversity and assists in never letting the album stall out by the time you get to the last few tracks.

Another sense of freshness for this album comes in the form of the production. One of the biggest complaints about 2014’s Inked In Blood, which was crowd-funded and produced by the band, was that it sounded flat. Probably because it was produced using more traditional methods rather than relying on programs like pro-tools and the use of triggers. Personally, I enjoyed it’s DIY, raw sound immensely and it’s one of my more revisited records since their return 12 years ago, but I can also see why some people thought it lacked some production oomph. With Obituary, it appears that they have reverted back to using modern technology as this album sounds vastly more polished than the previous outing. The guitars have serious bite and the drums sound stupid heavy when compared to its predecessor. I feel that the choice to use modern technology paid huge dividends in making the strong music performance sound as best as possible.

There are theories that Obituary titled this album for a specific reason that it is to serve as an obvious metaphor for the band facing death. If this ends up being their swansong, then it will be a hell of a way to go out. Obituary is amongst the Big 4 of Death Metal (at least they should be for anyone with taste) and this album is another statement to solidify that claim. This album couldn’t come more highly recommended. For the true death metal fans.