According to someone who knows more about this shit than I do, this is the Obit’s biggest seller to date, having moved more than 100K copies since coming out in 1992. There was a glut of good releases that year: Napalm Death (Utopia Banished), Cannibal Corpse (Tomb of the Mutilated), Nocturnus (Thresholds), etc. Of course this was also when Whitney “Wack Crack” Houston tore up the charts, Varg burned a church, Hetfield walked into the fire, and Nirvana dropped some big turd that mercifully brought an end to Lite Metal (everything you liked about metal but so much less).
Enough with the history lesson!
I remember thinking John “Gorgeous Golden Locks of Hair” Tardy’s vocals were so sick and brutal; funny how they sound somewhat clear and comprehensible after all the subvocal grunting I’ve heard over the years. There’s a bit of punk/thrash in his delivery and he’s damn nearly singing in spots. I love it when they layer his voice, with the tortured bellows acting like a harmony track; that’s freaking classic. Now the lyrics aren’t quite as interesting, but mostly I don’t care because Tardy just bludgeons me about the head with the words and it just doesn’t matter after a while. I know there are lots of fanboys out there who memorize every single line of this trite shit and sing along in the front row like good little doobers. At least someone’s doing it.
Can’t help but like those downtuned guitars and the Scott Burns/Morrisound aural signature, it’s like eating a favorite old shoe. Frank Watkins tub-thumping is audible and not completely lost in the wash. The drums on this bastard are pretty much tits up, Don Tardy hittin’ ‘em like he was trying to kill something. I don’t think the production gets the most out of his playing, but it is what it is. Those guitar riffs are like sweet, sweet asscandy to an asscandy addict. Allen West’s leads make me feel all Slayer inside. Trevor Peres’ rhythm tracks are brutal and gimp-suit tight. Listen to the opener “I’m in Pain”, where they toss the whole fetid ball into your earhole. “Back to One” has that same hardcore/punk feel but then they hit that half time thing and it’s a whole new war. “Sickness” is fantastic. Hell that whole first side is classic death metal.
That’s the thing with the Obit’s. When they slow down and grind it for a few bars, then speed it back up, it creates this great tension and release thing. When you’re in the pit, it’s nice to have a part that allows you to catch your breath, check your teeth, and wind up for the next go. I’ve run this tape by a few times (it’s a short album) this morning and my instinct is to run around and kick the crap out of everything.
I dug through a pile of dinosaur crap and unearthed this little gem:
I’m fairly sure this was for “The End Complete” tour. I remember this night because I jumped on stage with Fear Factory, sang “Suffer… bastards!” into the mic and was promptly elbowed sideways by Burton C. Bell right off the stage. My moment of tangential glory! Even though this was (gasp!) eighteen years ago, I remember Obituary putting on a killer show and being very, very sore and tired at work the next day.
It was worth digging this out of the tape grave and violating it one more time, I’d give it two thumbs up… in the eye socket.