OBITUARY
"Darkest Day"

(Candlelight)

01. List of Dead
02. Blood to Give"
03. Lost
04. Outside My Head
05. Payback
06. Your Darkest Day
07. This Life
08. See Me Now
09. Fields of Pain
10. Violent Dreams
11. Truth Be Told
12. Forces Realign
13. Left to Die

RATING: 7.5/10

Predictability isn't such a bad thing, is it? Just ask JUNGLE ROT. Maybe "reliability" is the better term since we're discussing another seminal U.S. death metal band three albums (and one EP) into its reformation. OBITUARY follows "Xecutioner's Return" with another classic-sounding album in "Darkest Day", both of which are superior to comeback album "Frozen in Time", at least as far as I'm concerned.

Often imitated, but never bettered, even the most passive of death metal fans can recognize an OBITUARY riff when they hear it and sure as hell can pinpoint a one-and-only John Tardy vocal. Nothing on "Darkest Day" will change those facts. While OBITUARY hasn't broken their mold, they have managed to give each album its own vibe through arrangement tweaks and subtle alterations to the established sound, as evidenced on "Darkest Day". There continues to be plenty of swampy belly-crawls and mid-tempo dirges, such as on "Payback", which has a fetid "World Demise" quality about it, and an ode to morbidity and hopelessness called "Your Darkest Day". Opener "List of Dead" and the pointed "Violent Dream" are the album's speedsters and aside from the odd up-shift in tempo (e.g. "See me Now" and "Blood to Give"), the pacing is traditional OBITUARY.

But it the band's penchant for tweaking, if you will, that injects personality into this album, not the least of which is Ralph Santolla's accomplished soloing. His cascading solo on "Fields of Pain", though brief, is an engrossing contrast to the mud-bogging riffs; the classy fret flourish during "Violent Dream" is similarly appealing. Drummer Donald Tardy is the other ace card. Just listen to his perfectly timed percussive burst on "This Life", his tribal dashes on "Blood to Give", and his ability to take complete control of a song with a solo fill during the second half of "Truth be Told".

We're not exactly talking tech-death here, but the band has learned a few tricks of the compositional trade over the years. Aside from the unnecessary inclusion of the previously released "Left to Die" and the terrific "Forces Realign", which to some extent robs last year's EP of its fan-value, "Darkest Day" is dyed-in-the-wool OBITUARY. It's about giving the people what they want; nothing more, nothing less.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.