"Obituary" is the eponymously titled 10th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Obituary. The album was released through Relapse Records in March 2017. It´s the successor to "Inked in Blood" from 2014 and features the exact same lineup who recorded the predecessor. According to the band it marks the first Obituary release with noteworthy songwriting contributions from bassist Terry Butler and lead guitarist Kenny Andrews. The release of "Inked in Blood (2014)" was followed by heavy touring activities, which subsequently led to the release of the live album "Ten Thousand Ways to Die (2016)". A live album which also featured two studio tracks in "Loathe" and "Ten Thousand Ways to Die". The latter track is also included on this album, while "Loathe" has been left off.
Releasing an eponymously tited album is usually something artists do to send a signal to the world. Sometimes to signal that the artist feels that the album is the essence of what the artist is about, or to signal that it´s the strongest material that they´ve written, a return to the roots, or a shift in sound. It can basically mean a lot of different things, but in the case of "Obituary", it´s probably a celebration that it´s the now 10th album release by the pioneering Florida death metal act. In this case it certainly doesn´t mean a shift in sound or a return to the roots, because Obituary never really left their roots, and stylistically the material on the 11 track, 36:28 minutes long album pretty much continues down the same old school death metal path as the one tread on "Inked in Blood (2014)" and as such on all the preceeding releases. Obituary have always been remarkably consistent in sound and style, and while it´s not always a strength that an artist doesn´t develop their sound much over the years, there are a few exceptions to that rule, and one of those exceptions are Obituary.
So every Obituary trademark element is in place as usual, from the distinct sounding guitar tone, to the well played guitar solos, to the heavy brutal grooves, to John Tardy´s unique and ultra brutal growling vocals. The material is well written and quite effective, but also a bit one-dimensional. The pace is changed a couple of times, and there are a few faster paced tracks on the album, but mostly we´re treated to heavy mid-paced and ultra heavy tempi. The trademark Obituary grooves are here in abundance, and tracks like "Turned to Stone", "Betrayed", and "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" represent that part of the band´s sound. As it´s almost always the case on Obituary´s releases not all tracks stand out equally much. It´s not a major issue, but the overall quality of the album would have been higher if all tracks were as catchy as the best ones.
That´s about my only gripe with this self-titled release, that is otherwise another high quality brutal kick in the nuts by one of the legends of the genre. The sound production is also powerful, raw, and brutal, and although I don´t count the sound among their best productions, it´s still well sounding and suits the material well. The band are as well playing/singing as ever, so upon conclusion this is another quality death metal release by Obituary. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.