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Album Review

Roaring out of the Florida swamps with a very different approach than their contemporaries, Obituary was one of the ugliest bands to appear in the death metal scene during the '80s. Joining the ranks of Morbid Angel, Death, Sepultura, and Entombed as the biggest acts in the genre, Obituary tended to let their music crawl forth, forgoing the blast beats and tempo changes for a slower and more deliberate assault. They also threw politics and Satanism out the window, replacing the usual lyrical topics with songs about blood and guts. Most of their notable tracks can be found on Anthology, the career retrospective that shows how effective their sound was and how little it changed throughout their career. From the vicious and primitive "Find the Arise" to the eerie Venom cover "Buried Alive," they never really did try to do anything new. What they did do is perfect the sludgy, lazy thud that their sound was based in and manage to fine tune it into an effective musical weapon. Due to their constant use of producer Scott Burns, they also had the chance to perfect the production style they were looking for, eventually coming up with a sharp roar that first really appeared on 1992's The End Complete. Their work on that record was the result of two ugly but influential albums that burned up the underground and allowed them to grow into a more mature and complex outfit. This period is covered in the first nine tracks, which may have weaker production but also contain a raw sound that slowly escaped the band through time. Three tracks make it from The End Complete, acting as a centerpiece between rougher periods. After that, they really had no place to go, and the final eight tracks are mostly just the best singles from otherwise uninspired or average albums. Still, every song here is a classic example of the slower side of death metal, showcasing the acidic dirges of a band that played out its usefulness but also knew to call it quits while they were still good. This is classic death metal from one of the genre's greats.


Formed: 1986 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Possessed and Death may have brought death metal to life, but Obituary brought it to fruition. After releasing some demos as Xecutioner as far back as 1986, the five-man band debuted as Obituary in 1989 with Slowly We Rot, and in a word, the album was a landmark. The previous forays into what would quickly become tagged as death metal -- primarily by the above-mentioned bands, Possessed and Death, along with grindcore innovators Repulsion and Napalm Death -- were exercises in relentlessness. These...
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Anthology, Obituary
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