"Frozen In Time"


01. Redneck Stomp
02. On the Floor
03. Insane
04. Blindsided
05. Back Inside
06. Mindset
07. Stand Alone
08. Slow Death
09. Denied
10. Lockjaw

RATING: 7.5/10

Certainly a contender for Most Appropriate Album Title of 2005… and why the hell not? If you heard anything from OBITUARY but inexorable groove, bone-basic riffs, and John Tardy's wounded-Yeti howl, wouldn't you be pissed off? These guys know what they (and we) like: big urns full of vintage CELTIC FROST half-buried in the Everglades and left to fester in the Florida sun. Eight years may have lapsed since the band's last proper studio album, but their killing instinct hasn't wavered, and their songwriting muse is still happily stuck in 1990.

The time off seems to have actually made them sharper, as "Frozen In Time" sticks to the ribs better than 1997's tepid "Back From the Dead". There are no real "hit singles" as on OBIE-slabs past (see: "Chopped In Half", "Back To One", "Don't Care"), just primal, from-the-gut riffs churning one after another from the speakers, in an organic flow. Rhythm guitar, bass and drums rumble along like a genial avalanche, crushing with warm midtempo groove, while John Tardy lays down just the right amount of his inimitable wet shriek.

"Redneck Stomp" raises eyebrows for its title alone, but happily it's just an instrumental intro, not some misguided effort to bring Blue-Collar Comedy to Florida death metal (hey, after that song with the rappers on it on "Back From the Dead", can you blame me for worrying?). "On the Floor" quickly thrashes its way into the classic OBIE canon, with an exuberant solo from Allen West, lurching slow chorus and echoing roar from Tardy. "Blindsided" and "Mindset" just smolder, lurching along with a groove (there's that word again!) deeper than the bags under guitarist Trevor Peres's eyes. "Stand Alone" ups the tempo a little, and retools FROST's "Circle of the Tyrants" riff — not surprising, since OBITUARY covered that very song on 1991 masterpiece "Cause of Death".

Sometimes saying a band has delivered a "give the people what they want" record is a negative thing. It's usually easy to smell the flop-sweat when a band is trying too hard. But OBITUARY have no such stench about them this time out — if anything, they make this shit look easy! They're clearly in a comfortable zone, happy to be in each other's company, now elder statesmen of a scene they helped put on the map.

My only complaints? At 34 minutes, I was left hanging, hoping for a couple more songs' worth of death crunge. And maybe one of those "hit singles" woulda put "Frozen in Time" firmly over the top into Top-10-of-2005 contention. For now, though, I'm willing to put songwriting on the back burner, happy in the knowledge that riffs this meaty and a vibe this old-school are not only still alive, but thriving. Long live OBITUARY!


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. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. 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).