Obituary need no introduction in death metal circles. They’ve remained an influence for over three decades now, and not once have they buckled to trends. Their recent tour of Australia was set to be a special one as the band were to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their second album Cause Of Death, released way back in 1990. Joining them on their trek was Wormrot from Singapore and here in Melbourne; Remains were selected as the local support. The show had been sold out for some time now, so the anticipation was huge and expectations were high.
Remains got the night off to a solid start. They hit the crowd hard, getting punters onside quickly with their effective brand of death metal. Their songs were short and sharp, almost punk-like in their approach, but with enough riffs to maintain interest.
Wormrot, who were touring Australia for the first time, were the exact opposite. The three-piece (vocalist Arif, guitarist Rasyid and drummer Vijesh) epitomise the grindcore movement, jumping from blast beats to chunky thrash rhythms and hardcore breakdowns with ease. Drummer Vijesh was partially impressive as he drove the band forward with pinpoint accuracy and was a show unto himself. Arif said they would return, and judging by the reaction, it can’t arrive too soon.
With the venue at capacity, Snortin’ Whiskey by Pat Travers filled the venue, and before long Obituary hit the stage with the instrumental Redneck Stomp. Hearing that monstrous guitar tone envelope the room was what we were all here for, and after three tracks from the band’s latest self-titled effort, Obituary got the night off to a proper start with Infected, the opening cut from Cause Of Death. Playing albums in their entirety has become a gimmick of late, but it’s a cool tactic, as fans get to hear deeper cuts – songs that are more often than not never performed live. While half the album is still a part of the band’s set list, hearing Body Bag, Memories Remain and their cover of Celtic Frost’s Circle Of The Tyrants was impressive. Obituary soon finished off the album, returned for encores and giving their fans a parting blow by performing a crushing version of Slowly We Rot, the title track off their debut album.
Vocalist John Tardy impressed with his commanding voice and signature death metal growls, while a special mention goes out to guitarist Kenny Andrews. His efforts in interpreting James Murphy’s iconic guitar solos are to be commended, as he did it with flair, adding his own touch here and there without making any unnecessary changes.
All in all, Obituary fulfilled expectations. Their set was heavy, their sound full, and they gave a seminal album the respect and kudos it deserves. Nostalgia, when done right, isn’t a bad thing.