Uninventive? Meh, maybe. Overrated? No way!!! If anything, this putrid classic is greatly under appreciated. Everybody’s raving on about “Cause Of Death”, chanting “Slowly We Rot”, sobbing to the long lasting retreat that was “Back From The Dead” (oh the irony! I’d dub it “Dead For The Future”, anyway I’m sure that was the working title because they were pretty much done). No, somehow “The End Complete” always gets stuck behind. While OBITUARY´s discography is highly respectable from the first platter up till the smashing yet evidently less creative “World Demise” (I’m not even going to attempt to include last year’s “comeback” product), this album right here, the crucial third effort, the turning point in the band’s career, deserves more props than it’s gotten in its fourteen years of existence.
The band always kept things simple, this is far from being a complex album, if you’re into mid paced Death Metal you should have no problems with this CD. With Allen West back in his place, relieving journeyman guitar shredder James Murphy off his duties, the core of the band was once again intact and things got stripped down to a minimum exercise of pure OBITUARY styled Death Metal. Everything from the post apocalyptic artwork to the foul sound of those delightful buzzing guitars and John Tardy´s sickening and corpselike vocals are old school trademarks of the band, let alone the deadly rhythm section, the difference lies in the “take no prisoners” vibe, there’s absolutely no mucking about, not even a flash of an idea that would pave way for something unorthodox might have led to betrayal of their primal roots, like riding a train with no stops, deadly.
The pace is relentless throughout starting with the brooding “I’m In Pain” featuring the typical avalanched drumming and thrashy solos, also a steady live tune since its gruesome birthing. “Back To One” and “Dead Silence” keep the varied tempo changes, rotten riffs, terror bass lines and excessive vibrato leads a flowing, classic stuff, pure and true to the Obi traditions, Tardy throws everything he’s got down in his blood drenched throat and the result is viral. Next up is the colossal “In The End Of Life”, heavy as fuck and no less murky than any of the material on “Slowly We Rot” when descending down to a zombie like breakdown that’s disturbing and sedated. But did you really think for one second the train was going to stop entirely? Fat chance, the rest of the album has one spell and one spell only: essence of OBITUARY.
While striking at the time, there were some minor flaws; Mr. West knew damn well how to deliver some effective solos yet some of them sounded very samey, especially the vibrato leads, after three albums the riffs also started to sound like recycling, sort of. The band’s biggest asset was integrity, never did they stray too far off course falling into abusive experimentation, in the end, their relevance in the scene had to vanish sooner or later as Metal went through several changes and still is in a “watershed” kind of phase.
I hope I’ve been able to turn a few heads so that they’re now aimed at this very album. What am I thinking; you’re probably off to spin some GOJIRA, MASTODON, TRIVIUM or KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, everybody’s favourites. Fair enough, all I’m saying’s that this was extreme back in 92. These guys made some of the vilest and darkest Death Metal there ever will be, they toured with the likes of CANNIBAL CORPSE and MALEVOLENT CREATION while the aforementioned bands where still trying to figure out their instruments, some of them may even have been all time high bed wetters at the time, their first album didn’t even have lyrics but gross guttural noises for Christ’s sakes, how many bands can say that.
By just buying this album and listening to it your doing yourself a favour as hopefully you’ll have learned this valuable lesson: OBITUARY was once the definitive Death Metal band!!! (Online March 24, 2006)