“What the hell happened to our planet?” Obituary drummer Donald Tardy asked himself at the height of the pandemic. The conclusion he arrived at, he decided, was a worthy title for their eleventh studio release. “Dying Of Everything seems like a proper name for this point in history,” he says. “I think it just fits with what everybody has been going through these last two years.”
Obituary – Dying Of Everything (Relapse)
Release Date: 13 January 2023
Words: Jools Green
Like so many musicians have also done, brothers Donald and John utilized the lockdown time in the way they know best, using it to write and create, resulting in what is one of their finest albums to date, and this is what I love about musicians, that ability to turn adversity onto something triumphant.
The Floridian Death Metallers command your attention from the offset with the full-throttle driving opener Barely Alive, with its searing vocal roar as it begins and further in blistering thrashy leadwork bursts. In contrast, The Wrong Time delivers a smouldering sinister mid-tempo groove, a hugely catchy and addictive listen.
Next up, Without A Conscience comes in with a heavy groove that courses its way with sinister intent beneath the vocals, the sound, elevated by soaring midpoint leadwork, a beast of a track.
The riffs on War epitomize what Obituary does best. They keep it simple but groove rich, and it’s stunningly effective. I love the low repeat roar of “War” that permeates the track, and just after midway, you get a soaring yet groovy burst of leadwork too.
Regarding the next track, Dying Of Everything, John said that “we have some blazing fast songs on this record compared to past albums. The title track boasts punishing riffs and songwriting by guitarist Ken Andrews. You can really hear his Thrash Metal background on the title track.
“It’s a fun song. It’s a little different. We try to stay Obituary, but you have to branch out a little on every album to show some type of progress or difference.” Personally, I also think it’s a great track. I love that thrashy drive and thrashy leadwork, but it still maintains that Obituary groove at the same time and the second half develops a very sinister tone before breaking into a heavy groove punctuated by superlative soaring leadwork.
My Will To Live is another heavy crushing, yet groovy beast, about which John explains that “I don’t try to make full stories or sense out of my lyrics, I really like to just dial into the heavy guitar tones and the drumbeats and make it as heavy as I can. Most of my lyrics don’t have some big life-pondering message. I just try to make sayings that stick with you, that hopefully, you can hum throughout the day.”
He’s not wrong there, either. It’s simple musically but hugely effective and, like many of the previous tracks here, lyrically catchy, and I love the sinister laugh towards the close too.
By The Dawn picks up the pace slightly, delivering an unrelenting but well-varied drive. I love this track, it has a traditional Obituary feel but still delivers surprises, and the Thrash-tinged lead work bursts are pretty tasty, too. The pace continues to elevate a little more with Weaponize The Hate. Lyrically and vocally, it’s also unnervingly superb.
Torn Apart is the second track of the release written by guitarist Ken Andrews boasts a rich Thrash-tinged drive. The final offering, Be Warned, doesn’t disappoint either. Slow, low and sinister, as well as irresistibly fuzzy and groovy but still packing a punch. The midpoint leadwork is wonderfully haunting, as is the well-protracted vocal delivery.
Dying Of Everything features cover art by Mariusz Lewandowski, the Polish painter whose stunning work has appeared on albums by Rogga Johansson, Morgue Supplier, Psycroptic and Abigail Williams, to name just a few, but who sadly died unexpectedly in 2022. “He did a fantastic job on the artwork,” John reflects, “but he passed away not long after he did our album cover. I think our cover art might’ve been the last thing he did.”
So, what is the secret to a band like Obituary delivering some of their best work over three decades into their career? The answer comes in John’s final comment. “I think it comes down to passion. I say this all the time, but if something’s not fun, I’m not gonna do it. And we’re having more fun than ever.” That aspect is also very apparent in the sound.