Obituary – Xecutioner’s Return
Candlelight Records (8/28/07)
Obituary has once again proved its place among the metal and death metal elite.
Let’s be honest, 2005’s Frozen in Time was a stellar comeback album, but its sole purpose was to show that the band still had what it took to make killer metal. With that established, Obituary set out to craft what will ultimately rank up amongst its best efforts (did anyone think it was possible to even approach Cause of Death-era work?).
The shift in home label (the band had been on Roadrunner for its entire career) and loss of longtime lead guitarist Allen West did little to slow the band down. Newcomer Ralph Santolla’s addition appears seamless. In fact, it may have offered up an added creative spark as Santolla does have a more deliberate approach to his playing and things seem to be a little more thought-out at times.
The classic Obituary soundâ€”the slow, sludgy guitarâ€”is back in full effect. Tracks like “Feel the Pain” and “Bloodshot” crawl out of the speakers like a corpse. But the band still manages to incorporate a faster thrash feel to songs like “Drop Dead”, or the guitar solos on “Seal Your Fate” and “Face Your God”, creating an absolute avalanche of seething metal.
Obituary is one of death metal’s best outfits for a reason; John Tardy’s guttural and growled vocals are always clean and easy to decipher, as the band’s song structures are pretty simple and straightforward, yet they still manage to make them sound elaborate. While a lot of their contemporaries seem to overstay their welcome or become overly repetitive, Obituary still sound fresh and imaginative (perhaps due to their extended hiatus a few years ago). Whatever the case, Obituary is a band that inspired and continues to inspire many metal bands out there today.
With Xecutioner’s Return, Obituary manages to release an album no one thought it was still capable of creating. From the classic-sounding “Evil Ways” to the haunting “In Your Head”, to the seven-minute opus “Contrast the Dead”, Obituary proves it has a lot more to offer fans.
Obituary is one of those bands that will never be in the mainstream. While longtime fans already know how good the music is â€” it’s time for a new generation of fans to discover this band.