12 Jacket (Gatefold - Two Pocket) [GD30OB2-N]Way back when Obituary were big, they delivered the kind of ripping death metal that rivaled Florida peers Malevolent Creation, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Deicide. To say that they once peeled the skin from your face is no understatement… think back to the pungent stench of Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death. It was them along with Winter that first incorporated the Celtic Frost dirge element into death metal, and when combined with John Tardy’s lunatic vocals left you wondering whether music could get any heavier. Death did indeed get heavier, and as the years wore on, Obituary‘s luster became more lackluster. They released albums like the tired sounding and overly groove laden, rap tangled, Back From The Dead and my expectations were low when I discovered they were set to perform on 70 000 Tons of Metal earlier in the year. Their performance ended up being one of the best of the cruise and had me slogging it out in the merch line for nearly three hours (consider me proudly shipwrecked on Costa Maya with Obituary!). When I caught a glimpse of Obit‘s logo carved into their new album art, I’ll admit I felt a sick surge of excitement, but can Obituary gratify modern day blood-lust?

“Centuries of Lies” bursts forth with what should be heaps of snapping and snarling testosterone. John Tardy’s screaming roar is instantly recognisable and jam packed into just about every inch of the track, but something is amiss though. You pick up early on that it’s lacking in intensity, the lunacy this crushing frontman had on Slowly We Rot is now well and truly a thing of the past. The track gallops along for just over two minutes, loaded with mid-paced melody, uninspired chugging guitars that bring to mind a 50-something geezer trying to survive the mosh pit and catchy drumwork that’s just too simplistic.

As much as I want the 11 tracks that follow to turn into something exciting, attention grabbing and more importantly, worthy of the band’s name, most sound much like the opener and the album rumbles along a lot like something Jungle Rot would put out. As far as stand-out moments, despite spending a week or more listening to the album, they can be counted off on one hand.  “Violent By Nature” ends off with a nice stab at violence, with Kenny Andrews stepping in at the 11th hour delivering a fierce and nifty guitar hook to keep you listening. And “Violence” picks up the pace and follows the formula of its similarly named predecessor, with some sick and disturbed guitar soloing, only this time it pops in briefly around the mid-section.

Ester SegarraInked in Blood still offers nods to bands like Napalm Death, Possessed and Celtic Frost but somehow Obituary found a way to turn this deadly influence into the kind of background, inoffensive death metal you can throw on while you’re busy doing menial tasks like baking chocolate chip cookies or trundling along the open road with no particular destination or time limit in mind.

Despite my heavy-handed take-down of Inked In Blood, by comparison, it doesn’t hit the level of mediocrity and let-down of Massacre‘s Back From Beyond earlier in the year. Obituary suffer the curse of being a big name in death metal, and with that name and elevation, there’s a brutal expectation when new material is released. Fans of the Obituary of old will surely feel some disappointment on hearing Inked In Blood. At best, it comes across as overly safe and clean, like a tired, kinda cheesy version of the Obituary we once knew and loved.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Relapse Records
Websites: ObituaryOfficial | Facebook.com/ObituaryBand
Release Dates: EU: 2014.10.24 | NA: 10.27.2014

  • I wanted this to be better and more…deathy.

  • Aside form a bit muddy in the low end I think it’s a pretty cool release. Def safe though. New ATG same just not the caliber I hoped for. New Carcass is the bar that is to be beaten.

    • HippieOfDeath

      “New Gorguts is the bar that is to be beaten.”

      Fixed that for you.

      • I actually wasn’t as taken by the new Goreguts as I thought I’d be. The new Exodus is pretty tits too.

      • Jack Tors

        I find the new Gorguts to bee way too technical and boring. I liked them a lot more during the Considered Dead days.

      • dave

        gorguts has sucked since their second disc, they don’t deserve the name even more now, how can anyb odd consider them death metal anymore besides having the name they are a heavier version of numetal

    • New carcass is unfortunately a far blander release than most I’ve purchased recently. These seem to be the two new conventional pieces of collective metal groupthink : bland carcass is somehow a masterpiece, and at the gates’ new brilliant release ‘underwhelming’.

    • Rentahobbit

      Agree with review. Its staid, formulaic, monotonous and a source of great disappointment. They’ve been recycling the same material for 20 years.

  • De2013

    I actually became a bit sad by reading through the review, not by the quality of it, but I really really really hoped for a solid new and exciting release, Obituary being one of my favorite old skool bands. However it became quite clear you would rate this below 3.

    OTOH I actually like Massacre’s Back from Beyond. So maybe I’ll still check it out.

    • Jack Tors

      Listen to it for yourself. I find the new album to be awesome and think its a great new album. On a 5 scale I’d easily give it a 4/5

      • De2013

        I’ll surely will, in time. There’re just soooo many new records out there I’d like to check out.

  • Jean-Luc Ricard

    Never got why Obituary are so popular, I’ve always found them deeply boring. I don’t think this album will change that opinion.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Bummer… I LOVE Obituary. Not impressed with this release but still enjoy listening to them. Yep, I’m a fanboy through and through.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I had been looking forward to this one, ‘visions in my head’ is a cool tune and had me excited about hearing the rest of the album. After giving it a good listen I’d say you’re being a bit harsh. I would say its ‘good’ and think that alot of people will enjoy it, but over all yeah…you’re right with so many good releases to compete with it doesn’t cut through in a way you would hope an Obituary record should…
    is it possible to be both good and disappointing?

    Luckily, Im not sick of Cause of Death yet :), so I can just wrap my self in that blood stained sanatarium blanket when I get that obituary urge…I hope they hit the road and record another quickly.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      ha I just realised that between good and disappointing on the AMG scale is 2.5…OK nothing special
      Well done Madam X

  • Jack Tors

    wow I thought this album was excellent. I have been playing it non stop for the past few days. I think its a great return for them. 2.5/5 ? Reallly????? This is at least an 8/10 in my book. There are some absolutely crushing riffs and John Tardy sounds as good as ever!

  • mauler77

    this review is my own opinion pretty much spot on. it’s almost easy-listening death metal with some really simple riffs, and yet still not as bad as the new Massacre for sure. but to be fair i didn’t expect anything else. it’s Obituary and it sounds just like they have done for years.

    • Donut Avenger

      They are Cannibal Corpse with a better album cover artist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Monsterworks

    I admit the first few teaser tracks they released did not blow me away and that was disappointing since I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign. It had been a very long wait since then. However, when the whole thing was finally available it made me pleasantly surprised. There is some great stuff on Inked in Blood and it had me jumping round the kitchen wailing while cooking dinner. My only complaint would be a few tracks could have been culled to make it stronger overall.

  • Angel R. Suarez

    Yeah… gonna have to disagree with the Madam. I think this album kicks ass.

  • Donut Avenger

    I know I’m a bit late to the party, It’s a great album. It’s Obituary. They aren’t trying to pretend to be anyone else…

    I was a backer, so maybe I just wanted them to release something SO badly, I went full nostalgia. But after the merchandise high wore off (got a killer hat, t-shirt, and beer koozi) I still love this album.

    It just oozes Obituary… and in the world of Florida Death metal…. that’s fucking golden.

  • Merckx

    I am really enjoying this album! I can’t disagree with the review really though… hell I’m 44 now and kinda enjoy baking choco-chip cookies and driving aimlessly with no time limit in mind. :-) Perhaps that’s why I like this release so much.
    Caught Obit and Carcass this weekend in Nashville and it was an excellent show. Last time I saw Obituary was 1992 at the Masquerade in Atlanta with Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, and Agnostic Front. Damn, where does time go???
    I’d have to give Inked a 3.5 though, and it’s growing on me more and more with each spin.
    I love angrymetalguy.com! Keep up the good work….

  • BadWolf

    i havent listened to obituary for years so cant really comment on their last few albums but i liked this one. i thought it sounded quite a bit like the obituary i remember from the slowly we rot days. maybe a bit more refined and polished but you can surely tell its the same band.

  • Totally agree. The weak-ass production ain’t helping their cause either.
    I want the band that recorded “Slowly We Rot” back. Imagine if they’d released a morbid & raw album mixed at Necromorbus Studio with some actual passion & anger involved. That’s the album I’d like to hear. Totally feasible, totally within their means, but I’m afraid these boys just don’t dream big anymore.

  • Joel Plamondon

    I just listened to this CD, i was familiar with Obituary’s old stuff of the early 90’s. I find this cd to be a different beast, it’s not pure death metal, it’s a little bit thrash at time, but i love this CD and i think giving it 2.5 is unfair, this is much better than that, having read all the comments i’m glad to see most ppl agree to disagree with the reviewer.