Obituary – Ten Thousand Ways to Die (Relapse)Sunday, 23rd October 2016
Long-rumored to have simply made up words in the band’s early days, Obituary vocalist John Tardy also introduces their songs in his growling voice. After all, when you have arguably the best vocals in all of death metal, why not use them for everything? (Cue image of Tardy ordering food in said voice. Not likely; this scribe has interviewed the man and his regular speech is just fine.) This underscores one of the many strengths of Obituary, who now in their third decade as a functioning outfit, can do as they please. Serving mainly as a live album with two new studio jams stocked at the beginning, Ten Thousand Ways to Die is superior to their 1998 Dead live effort.
Outside of lead-off cut “Loathe” being over six minutes—a rare happening for Obituary—it works its way into a muscular, swampy groove. Undeniably simplistic, but bruising, “Loathe,” along with the album’s title cut are evidence that Obituary will never change its stripes, for there’s no need to do so given their forever identifiable sound.
As for the live set, Obituary does its best to jostle between its more recent output (see: 2014’s Inked in Blood) and its stellar back catalog. As such, ‘newer’ songs like “Visions in My Head” and “Centuries of Lie” blend in seamlessly with undeniable classics like “Find the Arise,” “Dying,” (which sports the album’s heaviest moment, bar none) “Don’t Care” (from the under-appreciated World Demise) and “Chopped in Half,” a number that could be considered Obituary’s ‘hit,’ if you will.
While the aforementioned Dead captured Obituary on its last legs (Tardy would even sit out a good chunk of the tour), Ten Thousand Ways to Die finds the cagey vets sounding invigorated, if not carefree, assured of their place in death metal history. Now, how about “Circle of the Tyrants” for the next live set, eh?