By Nicholas Kobe, Contributor
[Relapse Records; 2023]
Key Tracks: “Barely Alive”, “The Wrong Time”, “My Will To Live”
Legendary death metal band Obituary kicks off 2023 with Dying of Everything. This is their first LP since 2017’s self-titled release. Fans of Obituary will be pleased that Dying of Everything is not an incredibly far diversion from the sounds the band pioneered in death metal on albums such as Slowly We Rot. The good news is even after such a long break, Dying of Everything shows that Obituary has not lost any speed.
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The band retains the same level of speed and ferocity over 30 years later. This can be clearly seen on the opening track “Barely Alive”. This song also serves as a great example of some of the other, more unexpected features of Dying of Everything – the first of which is the incredibly memorable choruses. Catchiness is often not the number one priority in death metal. Sure, melodic death metal exists, but straightforward death metal typically doesn’t prioritize hooks. Despite this, “Barely Alive”, “War”, “My Will To Live”, and especially “The Wrong Time” have been living in my head rent free since my first listen.
This record is more than just a chorus, however. While choruses may not be what people come to an Obituary record for, guitar riffs are, and they do not disappoint. Instrumentally, this album is incredibly solid all the way through. The drumming especially sticks out to me as incredibly versatile and impressive. Obituary has always been known for being more than just a straightforward “speed over everything” death metal band, and that is no less true on Dying of Everything. “Without a Conscience” is a prime example of the more sludgy side of Obituary’s music. The band is well known for this ability to expand on death metal, so their craft is well honed at this point. They move between slower, more riff-driven sections and blistering solos seamlessly. The diversity on this album gives the listener a satisfying listening experience, that is, if you know what you are getting into.
Dying of Everything showcases a legacy act in the world of death metal returning to the scene with all the vigor, drive and creativity as the new blood that has followed in their footsteps. Obituary is not pushing the envelope on much on the album, though, it is still very much the band just doing their thing. They were pioneers at the time, but today, Obituary isn’t on the cutting edge. That being said, if you go into Dying of Everything looking for simple and down-to-roots death metal, you will be satisfied. Considering Obituary is one of my favorite bands and death metal in general is one of my favorite genres, Dying of Everything was exactly the extreme and brutal start to 2023 that I so desperately needed.