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CD Review: OBITUARY – Xecutioner’s Return

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Obituary   Xecutioners Return 1

Get into your time machine and get her up to 88 mph, because we’re going back to the old school!

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Are you not familiar with OBITUARY? First album released all the way back in ‘89? They play a brand of death metal lacking blast beats, that rarely gets up to insanely fast speeds, and relies heavily on simplicity. The atmosphere created is usually pretty gloomy. If you’re young and new to the “deathcore” thing, you should obviously check out OBITUARY to go back to the roots. Even you fans of LAMB OF GOD, HATEBREED and FULL BLOWN CHAOS should check out OBITUARY, as all of those bands name drop OBITUARY often, so they’re a band recommended by the heavy giants of today!

Ok, beyond that history lesson, how does the album actually sound? Well, it seems the whole theme is going back to the old school, so the drums and vocals are living back in reverb land again. Those super heavy guitars can be a bit thick on the fuzz sometimes, actually to the point where they get a little soft sometimes, which can be a drawback as you expect metal guitars to typically have a bit of a sharper attack to the tone. Vocal wise, unlike the earlier OBITUARY albums, this one, much like the other recent OBITUARY album, “Frozen In Time” features actual words growled in the songs!

As for the music itself, it’s most of the same kinds of simple power chord driven riffs you’ve heard, even chords that hold onto the buzz of some of the classic OBITUARY riffs are done as well as before. Sometimes the songs move a little bit further from the CLETIC FROST inspiration, almost to a southern rock or general rock area, but it’s subtle. The new lead guitarist, Ralph Santolla is of course a very skilled player, but in this instance, he seems to have a bit of trouble finding his place with his guitar solos in OBITUARY. The old lead guitarist, Allen West had incredibly fitting guitar solos, with a slightly simpler jagged style with a few whammy dives thrown in that fit perfectly with the rest of the simple songs. Most of the guitar solos find Ralph trying to fit in with jagged solos, but sometimes he has a bit of trouble holding back, and will fly off into some fancy fast fretwork that doesn’t quite fit with the theme of simplicity. There are also a few solos where he tries making some melody, or even a harmonized guitar solo work, but again, it goes against the grain of the rest of the songs. The biggest drawback is the fact that the sharp jagged portions of the guitar solos seem rushed and forced.

The bottom line I guess is, if you could only have one OBITUARY album for proper representation, would this be the one? Unfortunately the answer is no, as the guitars are a bit too warm and fuzzy, and the guitar solos don’t fit the theme of the music. I could easily say that OBITUARY have for most of their career put out great albums (although I can’t say they stick out too much from one another). If you’re a newcomer to the world of heavy and/or extreme music, than one of many OBITUARY albums should defiantly be in the collection to the average fan of HATEBREED, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, LAMB OF GOD, or JOB FOR A COWBOY to understand your roots.

The Official Obituary Website

Obituary at MySpace
Obituary at Candlelight Records

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