Death metal legend OBITUARY is currently working on a new album. The band's 2014 album, "Inked in Blood", reached 79 on the Billboard 200 chart. Assuming the religious right even consults Billboard (doubtful), there's something hilarious about an extreme metal act placing so high while shoving cover art that presents a decapitated, limbless and eviscerated torso. Tipper Gore's now a ghost in Washington, D.C., but let teeth gnaw upon thumbs in her honor anyway.
Meanwhile, OBITUARY drops an interim maxi-single, "Ten Thousand Ways to Die", which features two new cuts plus 11 live tracks captured on this year's "Inked in Blood" world tour. Two songs from that album, "Centuries of Lies" and "Visions in My Head", are represented here. Mostly the live action takes a heavy lean upon tracks from the band's debut album, "Slowly We Rot", including the title track, "'Til Death", "Intoxicated" and "Bloodsoaked", as well as "Chopped in Half", "Turned Inside Out", "Find the Arise" and "Dying" from 1990's "Cause of Death".
The 6:16 opener, "Loathe", is drawn-out due to its lulling intro. Trevor Peres, Terry Butler and Kenny Andrews wring every laborious doom measure they can muster before John Tardy's pukes emit and the song slogs menacingly along with interchanging pick-ups on the soppy choruses. The song is suitably ugly with threats of thrash that never come, yet the heavy slush is overpowering. "Loathe" doesn't need to rocket to be effective. The title track handles its business in half the time and with a gradual rise to the tempo. As with "Loathe", trudging versus blasting is OBITUARY's method of attack and the repeated riffs add to the languishing feel of the new songs. "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" gratifyingly yield's a pealing guitar solo from Kenny Andrews to take it home.
"Redneck Stomp", performed at the Mayan in Los Angeles, is purposefully placed behind the new studio tracks, no doubt to retain a sense of build-up to a release stuffed more with live material than new goodies. Finally, the acceleration comes with "Centuries of Lies", recorded at The Masquerade in Atlanta, along with "Intoxication" at Revolution Center in Boise, Idaho and "Visions in My Head", pounded out at this year's Maryland Death Festival.
The live recordings are largely crisp, thus if you're a concert album fanatic, this is going to settle well, particularly "Visions in My Head", which may have listeners imagining themselves parked right there at the event. These live tracks are loosely plotted as if you're following OBITUARY on tour, ending in Florida, squarely in the band's home turf, which is kinda fun. That being said, "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" is obligatory only if you can't wait until 2017 for album ten.