Obituary - Darkest Day
Candlelight
Death Metal
13 songs (52:39)
Release year: 2009
Obituary, Candlelight
Reviewed by James
Major event

After the stellar Left To Die EP, my personal introduction to Obituary, I was eagerly awaiting a new studio full-length from the band. Turns out I didn't have long to wait, as Darkest Day has arrived just short of a year later. It's more of the same sludgy, raw death metal Obituary are known for (Trevor Peres' hulking colossus of a guitar tone still owes a great deal to Tom G. Warrior). I'm slightly disappointed to say that although the riffs are still very much present, the production job is a bit less filthy this time. And although Trevor Peres always has a knack for a riff you can nod your head to, he's definitely stepped that up a bit here .In fact, much of the time it's downright catchy, the band appealing as much to newcomers as to old-school fans.Lead-off single Blood To Give is possibly the most straightforward thing the band have cut to date, rolling along on a riff that's only a few steps removed from prime Pantera.

Not that this is a sell-out, of course. Obituary are still very much the same band they've always been, and they can still write a tune as heavy as anything. Opener List Of Dead is an absolute stormer, throwing downtuned thrash riffs at you left right and centre, the track lit up with Ralph Santolla's solos (and there are about five here). Indeed, Santolla seems to contribute a lot more than he did on Left To Die, peeling off scorching licks with ease. At the other end of the spectrum, the title track is a doom metal monster, sounding like Hellhammer at their most primal. Of course, it's all held together with John Tardy's man-monster roar (one of the best death metal vocalists about today, no question). Indeed, although the first half or so of the album has some fairly hooky, accessible material along the lines of the aforementioned Blood To Give and the monstrously pissed-off Payback, the title track seems to mark a shift into a much darker, heavier side of the band, This Life following Darkest Day in the same torturous sludgy fashion. It's almost as if the first few songs were a primer, gently easing neophytes in before hitting them with death metal at it's most savage. Obituary's mission statement has always been about creating a dark, sinister atmosphere rather than simply smacking you over the head with relentless blastbeats. And in a world where so many bands race to be the fastest and most “brutal” rather than, you know, writing a memorable riff, an album as staunchly unaffected by trends as Darkest Day really is a breath of fresh air.

When most legendary bands reunite, it's usually a short-lived affair, old wounds reopening faster than before, and that combined with the fact the band in question usually don't have the songwriting chops or the energy they used to usually means reunions are a rather unneccesary coda to the history of a once-great band. So for the Obituary reunion to still be in full swing five years later, the band having released three albums and an EP in that period, really is remarkable. And for Darkest Day to be as good as any death metal album released this year is more remarkable yet. Bands who claim to march under the banner of death metal may be a dime-a-dozen these days, but few bands lead the pack in quite the same way as Obituary.

Killing Songs :
List Of Dead, Darkest Day, This Life
James quoted 85 / 100
Goat quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Obituary that we have reviewed:
Obituary - Inked in Blood reviewed by Jared and quoted 79 / 100
Obituary - Slowly We Rot reviewed by Charles and quoted CLASSIC
Obituary - The End Complete reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Obituary - Left To Die reviewed by James and quoted no quote
Obituary - Xecutioners Return reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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