Obituary are just about as O.G. as it gets with death metal music. Having been an active, working band since at least 1984, the band boasts a decent-sized discography under their belt. Even with a 6-year time period of disbandment after 1997’s Back From The Dead (ironically titled given their decision to call it quits for awhile shortly after its release), as well as numerous line-up changes and at least one death of a former member, Obituary (also ironically) lives on!
Dying of Everything gives us everything from brutal riffing to technical prowess, starting off on a fast-paced, thrashy kickstart with “Barely Alive”. Pure abrasion and traditional might, heard and felt from the opening mid-range scream. Throughout the track, a statement is made to the times, painting lyrical subject matter of a world in ruin and decay, as ‘kings are killed as thieves now rule the land’. The beauty of lyrics like these are they could easily be interpreted as a sort of metaphor to current real-life events, or simply just telling a story that may feel eerily relatable; In either case, typically up to the reader to discern.
Given the direct mentions of ‘free speech ratings’ found in the lyrics of “Without a Conscience” two tracks later, I’m inclined to believe Obituary might be leaning more towards either metaphors or even direct statements to the times. Or at least, I would be if vocalist John Tardy weren’t cited in an interview with Revolver Mag mentioning his avoidance of political subjects in his music, ‘because you know how that goes’. A more slown-down jammer, the main riff heard throughout the beginning of this track will have you head banging for days.
The triplet-driven guitars and bass coupled with an almost gallop-pattern double bass at 2:20 serve to further this audible manifestation of what every metalhead enjoys about metal. Even if there is any sort of polarizing message behind what John or any member of Obituary have to say or stand for as a band, there is no doubt the music itself, as well as the essence about it, is a unifying resonance of pure death metal. Well, as unifying as extreme music can get, anyway. Personally, I’m caught between this and “War” being my two favorite tracks on the album.
“By the Dawn” is another banger that earns a spot as a favorite amongst the others. Everything about this song just takes you right back to the days of Ozzfest in the late ‘90s, and Obituary possess an attitude about this album that feels like they just arrived on the scene and are leaving a monumental impression, while still performing and writing like the well-traveled professionals they are. Even with the sort of reminiscence of sound and style running rampant throughout Dying of Everything – somehow it still feels fresh. It just goes to show, even 11 albums in, even if seemingly older and more tired, you can still keep things interesting (marriages of 25+ years, do take note of this)
Obituary are a household name in death metal, no question about it. Dying of Everything certainly reflects the quality of the band and how age can truly hold its integrity of that quality. For those looking for the next big, outside-the-box, experimental, ‘what if we did this instead of this’ sort of new direction in metal music, this album might not impress you much. But for those who want a clear example of what the historical factors of death metal are, in the best representation possible, as well as what the term ‘good riffs’ really mean? Check this one out for sure. Obituary will not disappoint.