23 June 2013

Obituary - World Demise

YYYYYYEEEEEEUUUUUUURRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! Hear that? That's the opening line to the song "Internal Bleeding" off 'Slowly We Rot' which was the first Obituary album. It opened up new doors in death metal where instead of blastbeats and fast riffs, the sound was as thick and as sludgy as the Florida swamps from where the band hail from. A new level of extremity where the vocalist didn't merely recite lyrics but instead, became more like an instrument in their own right as opposed to merely singing. Not that they're singing. Typical death metal vocals are either a high pitched shriek or a low growl (Maybe even both in one song). The vocals in Obituary were more like the sound you make when vomiting. It honestly seemed unique at the time.

This is their fourth album, which came out in 1994 and it marked a slight change to the sound compared to the three previous to it. The brutality was still there but with an element of groove metal while still keeping the Obituary sound. There was also a few experimental numbers in there too which was a brave move as death metal bands who stray from the usual template are generally frowned upon (the fuss over Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus is a prime example). Nevereless, they Obies really hit the mark on this.

Opener is a sludge/groove destroyer called "Don't Care" which is about the enviroment (The accompanying music video featured footage of pollution and stuff)  damage that's going on. It's also the main recurring theme throughout the album (Hence the title 'World Demise'). Although there are proper lyrics this time round, the vocals still sound like vomiting sulphuric acid! "World Demise" is the next track, which betrays their Celtic Frost influences, but with a bit more swagger. Album highights are "Redefine" which starts with a radio tuner flicking between stations (And I swear one of the songs sounds like 'Come Baby Come' by K7), 'Final Thoughts' in all it's slow burning, apocalyptic glory or even 'Kill For Me' which is a unique song as it has a tribal influence to it (Unique as far as Obituary are concerned, Sepultura were cornering this market by now). It starts off with African tribal drums and pecussion before turning into some brutal death metal before fading out as tribal again and finally, an African tribesman treats us all to a song. The most remarkable thing, I feel, is that Obituary manage to make one song with tribal influences far more engaging and atmospheric than anything Soulfly have ever done. Production is the standard Scott Burns as Morrisound Recording job - listen to any American Death Metal from between 1989 and 1995 and it's likely to have him as producer and that studio as the recording base.

This album is brilliant, simple as. There are no other words I can use to describe how excellent this album is. It's a shame that this particular style of DM never really caught on elsewhere as it would've given Death Metal a kick up the arse. All out brutality is fine, but gets repetitive and boring. Adding texture and layers is a far, far better way to go about it. Death Metal was never going to take over the world but it made a fair attempt at it. If you've never heard Obituary before, then I recommend this as your first starting point.

10/10 - This is proof there is a God.

Chris J.

This album is available on iTunes.
You can listen to this album on Spotify - just scroll to 'section 4' and it should be there.
You can buy this album on Amazon.

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