Dying Of Everything

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Barely Alive
02. The Wrong Time
03. Without A Conscience
04. War
05. Dying Of Everything
06. My Will To Live
07. By The Dawn
08. Weaponize The Hate
09. Torn Apart
10. Be Warned

With their 40th anniversary barely a year away, OBITUARY ought to take great pride in the fact that they are still one of the heaviest bands on the planet. Rarely mimicked with any degree of accuracy, and still wholly original in the grand death metal scheme of things, the Floridians have built a legacy on giant riffs and crushing grooves. The simple but lethal formula established back on 1989 's "Slowly We Rot" continues to stand apart from every other enduring strain of death metal, and even though there are countless faster and more brutal bands out there, OBITUARY still win the heaviness wars. Their 11th studio record, "Dying Of Everything" confirms it.

Florida's finest weather-beaten veterans have been on increasingly great form since returning from a lengthy hiatus, with 2005's "Frozen In Time". By the time they arrived at 2017's measurably killer self-titled album, OBITUARY were positively raging, and enjoying a little, long overdue recognition from the wider metal world. Touring with SLAYER in the intervening years may have given them an additional spring in their step, too. Either way, their renaissance continued unabated, and these ten new songs smash, kick and slay with admirable levels of vehemence and viciousness, as if OBITUARY have reawakened the virile, fearless spirit of their younger selves.

Opener "Barely Alive" takes off at a vengeful full pelt, with frontman John Tardy unleashing those screams and growls, and his band mates whipping up a straight-ahead cyclone behind him. It's a stupidly exhilarating kick-off point, and easily the best OBITUARY album opener since "I'm In Pain" from 1992's "The End Complete". Next, "The Wrong Time" delivers the goods: a classic, swaggering OBITUARY groove, with riffs that blend warped classic rock vibes with exquisite, nagging dissonance: it's both an unstoppable sledgehammer to the forehead and one of the catchiest songs in the band's history. In contrast, "Without A Conscience" is a slow-burning avalanche of ugly riffing and ominous atmosphere, while "War" fulfills the violent promise of its title via an infectious, thuggish, sludgy stomp that refuses to quit, except for a mischievous burst of acoustic guitar. An instant gem, the title track simply sounds like OBITUARY being as OBITUARY as possible: cudgeling, raw-wound death metal, with a psychotic redneck streak a mile wide.

Elsewhere, "My Will To Live"'s snappy, epic-thrash-death march provides a punishing reminder that slow is nearly always heavier than fast; "By The Dawn" injects some lobotomized SABBATH worship into the equation, with a particularly vomitous John Tardy erupting from the maelstrom of knuckleheaded riffs; "Weaponize The Hate" is a razor-riff rampage propelled by Donald Tardy's unmistakable kick-drums; "Torn Apart" wallows in the bloody syrup of OBITUARY's early days, like some long, lost out-take from "Slowly We Rot" reborn for modern consumption. If you have ever enjoyed this band before, "Dying Of Everything" contains plenty of what you rather sensibly enjoyed.

The closing "Be Warned" is the only significant departure from the legendary norm here. An excruciating, downtempo deluge of scabrous slurry, topped off with a commanding John Tardy vocal, it freshly encapsulates the grotesque power of OBITUARY's unassailable blueprint, while also sounding like the work of a five-man force with plenty more to do. And they're still one of the heaviest bands on the planet.

Author: Dom Lawson
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