Obituary - Inked in Blood [Relapse - 2014]
One of the oldest, most well known names in Death Metal is Tampa Florida's Obituary. With thirty years in the game, The Tardy boys have influenced countless bands and sold tons of records (well, for a death metal band, that is). Their ninth full length comes to us courtesy of Relapse Records. After all these years, how does Obituary manage to keep it fresh and interesting? Unfortunately, John and Don never figured out the answer to that question.
I remember how excited I was when I found Slowly We Rot at a Strawberries twenty or so years ago. The band name, the album title, and the album cover (still one of my faves) all screamed "Buy Me!" I bought it and was not disappointed. "Godly Beings" and "Words of Evil" made almost every death metal c90 I compiled. A few years later, I grabbed World Demise, and my love affair with Obituary started to fizzle. Fast forward to last week when I received Their latest, Inked in Blood, for review. Hearing the stellar, recent output of classic acts, I was hopeful for a return to form for the Tardy boys. Unfortunately, Inked in Blood is pretty stale, tedious, and overlong. Everything about this album is standard and has been done to death (no pun intended) over the past 30 years of death metal. Straight from the jump, "Centuries of Lies" delivers the dull drums, uninspired riffs, and commonplace vocals.Is it truly boring or is it just boring compared to more modern, brutal death? Is it me or Obituary? Have I been spoiled by Gorguts' latest? I think my expectations are higher than most, sure, but I also don't think there is a lot tto fall in love with on this album. I listened to it a lot, too, and instead of saying, "Whoa, which song is this radness?" I was saying, "How many more songs before I can listen to something else."
In a world where great music is easily accessible and finding great new bands is a click of the mouse away, why tolerate something standard and boring? That's exactly what Inked in Blood is: standard and boring. Relapse has been putting out great stuff lately, so I'm not sure who gave this the greenlight, but it's hurting their average. Maybe I'm being overly harsh, but if you're looking for lively death metal, look elsewhere.Paul Casey