Obituary is absolutely legendary in the death metal scene. While nothing they’ve done in the last 20 years has ever quite competed with their first two records, you can always count on them for a reliable, caveman-esque death metal record. Their sound is bludgeoning, barbaric, and ultimately a lot of fun. “Inked In Blood” is the band’s first record in 5 years, and it wastes no time assaulting you with brutality. Less than a second into the first track, John Tardy’s demented and twisted vocals enter. He sounds as good as ever, and age is actually making him stronger. His voice is a bit higher than it used to be, and this makes his unintelligible growls even more entertaining, as there’s a bit more variety and absurdity to them. Although the opener, “Centuries of Lies” leans on Tardy a bit too much, the rest of the record does a great job of mixing instrumental parts in more evenly.
One complaint that occasionally is rallied against Obituary is that they’re too plodding, and don’t inject enough speed into their music. This album likely won’t change anyone’s mind in that regard, but it is certainly one of their faster and more brutal records. With that said, I think the more mid-paced moments are really Obituary’s bread and butter, as they’re heavy beyond belief. This brutality is aided by the production. As one would guess, the guitars and bass are a consistent rhythmic rumbling, but where this album’s sound really shines is in the drumming of Donald Tardy. His drums sound decidedly old school. The snare in particular has a fantastic crack to it. It makes each hit powerful, and it still works regardless of whether this is happening at Slayer speeds or at Sabbath tempos. This quality tone applies to his whole kit, and is most noticeable on a track like “Pain Inside”, where Tardy #2 delivers all sorts of fills and a wicked section with plenty of ride cymbal abuse.
If I were to fault this album anywhere, it would be in the songwriting. Most of the record is pretty strong, and some songs even manage to be catchy, but there are a lot of tracks here. By the time the album reaches the last couple of tracks, it feels like it has already run its course. To be fair to the band, if you’re buying this album (and you should), you probably aren’t tired of Obituary’s sound yet, so a couple more tracks is all the better. In any case, this album continues to solidify the band’s legacy as a reliable group that is still putting out worthwhile music. “Inked In Blood” more than does justice to the great name of Obituary!
Be sure to check out and like Obituary on Facebook!
"Visions In My Head"
"Inked In Blood"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott