Obituary - Anthology


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit
Obituary - Anthology
Roadrunner Records - 2001
By Philip Whitehouse

Hmmm... funny things, are these 'best of...' albums. Usually a cash-in attempt by a record company hoping to squeeze a few more cash dollars out of a newly-deceased band, they typically offer little to an established fan of the band involved but serve very well as an introduction to that group. And so is the case with this compilation of some of thrash/death metal specialists Obituary's killer cuts.

To the uninitiated, Obituary were one of the most cruelly-overlooked bands of their style at the time. Left behind by more illustrious counterparts as blast-beat behemoths Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel , Obituary nevertheless gathered a large, devoted cult following regardless of the apathy that they were met with from the hardcore death metal scene. They specialised in melodic death metal dynamics fused with thrash metal speed and aggression, and mixed it up with a vocalist who more often than not eschewed actual lyrics in the songs in favour of guttural growls, strangled screams and occasional deranged screeching.

If you have the stomach for this kind of thing, then this album should serve as the perfect introduction to Obituary's music. Culling such classics as 'Slowly We Rot', 'Final Thoughts' and 'Don't Care', along with a demo version of 'Find The Arise', Obituary's entire career is spanned through the tracks on this disc. Obviously, there isn't a bad track on here - the flesh-stripping guitar work is as brutally enthralling as ever, the drums as manic and relentless, and the music in general as uncompromising and unpleasant as Obituary fans demand.

In an attempt to rope in established die-hard fans of the band, Roadrunner have included two previously unreleased tracks, 'Buried Alive' and a remix of 'Boiling Point'. The former is uncharacteristically slow-paced and melodic at first, before exploding into a typically punishing chorus. The latter is a somewhat disjointed reworking of the original with a techno-esque drum backing and some re-arranging of the song sections. It brings to mind what Obituary might sound like if Trent Reznor was given total control of the production of the album. Slightly disappointing, guys.

Overall, as is the case with many discs of this type, 'Anthology' is perfect for people looking to get into Obituary, but next to pointless to all those already established Obituary fans. If you haven't heard Obituary, buy it now. If you have, go and listen to the tracks on the original albums. You can live without 'Buried Alive', and you really don't want to hear 'Boiling Point' being butchered as it has.