Album: Dying of Everything
Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: January 13, 2023
Genre: Death Metal
Location: Tampa, Florida
The beauty of getting to review an album from a band that you have followed ever since that fated day that you walked into your local record store and discovered them, can at times be a double-edged blade. Do you love them just because they were there for you when it mattered most? Are you allowed to criticize them for a few less-than-perfect releases? Have you been loyal and stayed the course? Questions upon questions and add a conundrum or two for good measure.
Yeah, I remember the day that I first discovered Obituary. Pre-Internet and all, scary stuff for a fair few of you I’d reckon. Walked right on into the only decent record store we had in the shitty town I lived in and there it was, Slowly We Rot. A picture of some dude that looked kind of like most of us back then lying in a gutter, denim jeans and sneakers and all, but possibly a bit more rotten seeing as he appeared to be fucking dead. Obituary huh? Never heard of them. No way of looking up if they were any good, as it was back in the golden era, you just bought what you bought because it looked like something you might like, and of course, all of your mates would go “Oooh, aagghhhh! That’s sick man!”
And what did I get from the purchase? And what does it have to do with now? Well, I got some fucking batshit mental death metal that took me some time to adjust to. Being mainly a thrash metal maniac, this was some hard stuff to digest. Too slow man! What the hell is he singing about? Dude sounds like he is vomiting out his lower intestine! It’s like Celtic Frost and Napalm Death (“Harmony Corruption” era – yeah I know it came out a year later but you get my point) had some sort of bastard child after a hidden liaison that should never ever be spoken of on pain of death! As for the now bit? Continue to read if you wish!
I got used to them, and death metal in general and I became the finest of friends. Their second effort Cause of Death still rates as one of my favorite albums ever. Such sheer brutality, the magnitude of the riffs on offer, and the vocals invoked visions of some huge ancient horror that could kill a man at five paces with one simple “Uuuurgghhhhhhhh.” Many of my favorite bands now utilize such weaponry in their delivery, and sure we can all thank a certain Mr. Tom G Warrior for beginning the use of a well-timed grunt, but others have picked up the ball and fucking gone well above and beyond (here’s looking at you Carcinoid haha.)
So we now come to their latest release, Dying of Everything. 34 years and now hitting their 11th full length, it is amusing to sit back and watch people’s reactions. I have developed a theory over the years that I call the “Since” syndrome. It involves two camps, and can be universally applied to any band that has been around for a bit, them being the “I haven’t listened to them SINCE (insert album here, usually their third one),” and “This is the best thing SINCE (insert album here (usually their third one haha.)” And yes, Dying of Everything is sure as hell copping a fair amount of this kind of malarky.
This then opens the question of just what each listener actually wants from a band and also gives an inkling of the type of support some give and others take away. Okay, the good news about this one is that it is, indeed an Obituary album. That might also be bad news for those that stopped at album number three. No, it is not The End Complete, nor should we have that kind of expectation. Some bands evolve and change to the point where they are almost unrecognizable, and sure Obituary have had one or two that have not quite met the lofty expectations of the mighty, but one thing you definitely get from them is a no-nonsense approach to being WHO they are, and what they are, without disturbing the good old apple cart as they say.
Dying of Everything is exactly what they intend it to be. From the opener “Barely Alive” (which certainly makes a mockery of my earlier speech about them being too slow when I first heard them) pretty much bashes one around the noggin with its flat-out chuggery, to two of my favorite tracks “War” and title track “Dying of Everything” (duh), they give us nothing but the most relentless ear battering we could rightly ask for from a band that could well have just chucked it in years ago and opened up some sort of animal rescue place or something… Oh, hang on. Do they have one already? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! Hahaha!
Nope. Plenty of greatness on offer here, just like any of their albums if you are a fan, and if you are new to them what better place to start! Now just work your way backward and discover more and then you too can have lofty expectations for the next one! Fuck yeah! Dying of Everything is everything YOU want it to be basically. I say it is brilliant, and a welcome addition to an amazing collection of albums from the lads, but maybe I am somewhat biased. Your opinion may differ, and you are certainly most welcome to it!
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