Its not hard to believe that a band would want to ‘end’ on a high note, so that their name would go down in the record books as going out strong – but OBITUARY went out with a bit of a whimper. “Back From The Dead” sealed the deal back in 1997 for the band and the album’s weak energy and sub par writing are testament to what was to come.
“Back From The Dead” is just built upon tons of very beefy riffs that (for the most part) simply plod along to steadfast foundations of drums and bass lines. For a band that has not only had good albums prior but for a while was setting standards in Death Metal, this album just feels weak in their catalog despite some good songs and decent performances. The band does very well on this album when the song varies in its structure, moving from the slower headbanging riffs to faster Thrashy moments like “Platonic Disease” or “Threatening Skies”. But many of the slower songs and parts feel repetitive and overdraw with a riff that is just run into the ground instead of building or moving forward.
John Tardy’s vocals are slightly over-layered on this album (it’s interesting to hear and his voice is still unexpectedly unique) but his performance still reigns as the best on the album. Although the short bursts of soloing is good, most of it feels a bit lackluster as with the majority of the album. And the low energy of this release just really sucks a lot of the life out of parts that normally would have been awesome.
Now it’s not that bad of a release by any means. The song writing is still quite solid and the performances are nothing to shake a stick at – but the overall atmosphere and plodding pace of the album undermines anything that could have been great on “Back From The Dead”.
Luckily, the band wouldn’t end on this note as they have now been back together for a few years at the writing of this review. But “Back From The Dead” will still be remembered as a low point for OBITUARY in an otherwise for successful Death Metal career.
Songs to check out: “Threatening Skies”, “Download”, “Platonic Disease”.
(Online August 22, 2008)