OBITUARY – Live Review. Manchester Club Academy, UK – March 8th 2018
Slowly we ….arrive
Obituary are touring Europe in support of their most recent, self-titled album.
The night started with a whistle stop tour of late night chemists in search of migraine tablets, with eventual success. It was then time to make the journey across to Manchester from Liverpool.
15 minutes into the journey, hurtling along at 70mph, I turned to my girlfriend, asking if she had the tickets. “No,” was her reply, “I thought you picked them up,” she said. “Take the next exit,” I said. Back home for the tickets we went…
On the floor, finally.
We arrived later than planned, but in enough time to catch the last two songs from night’s openers, Ingested. The band plays a melting pot style of technical death metal / deathgrind in a similar vein to some later era Cattle Decapitation.
Exmortus took to the stage as the main support who joined for the European tour and immediately launched into battle from the off. An incredible tightness and technicality from all four members littered the set. Trading solos, two-hand tapping, behind the head. Every song was a blistering thrash attack that had the intensity of Sodom and Dissection. Battle cries of “AYE, AYE, AYE” with fists in the air.
“Feast of Flesh” was typical of the kind of sonic assault that Exmortus delivered song after song. I spoke with the band afterwards. After congratulating them on a set well played I got talking with them about their plans. They are already giving thought to when it’s possible for them to return to Europe. A new album is expected in the summer, which going off the new songs they featured live, is one to anticipate with excitement.
Death is the main event
Obituary came onto the stage while “Snorting Whiskey” by Canadian Pat Travers was still booming. “Redneck Stomp” opened the set, a perfect choice to get the juices flowing. Trevor Peres’ guitar tone weighed heavy yet still managed to cut through you simultaneously. Trevor spent the entire set with either beer or riffs, what a job he has!
The first of five tracks from their latest album followed, “Sentence Day” picked up the pace from a stomp to a sprint. This is one of the band’s faster tracks that boasts a menacing delivery from John Tardy. He manages to make one syllable words sustain beyond anything expected. Kenny Andrew’s leads took centre stage on this track and was first of many occasions he absolutely ripped through his duties with ease.
Dripping noise filled the room between tracks at times, filling the room with a creepy, underground like atmosphere. Tight phrased bursts from the band drove the energy back up the ramp with “Visions in My Head” from their crowdfunded 2014 album “Inked in Blood”.
A “Cause of Death” medley followed, “Chopped in Half” brought its punctuated phrasing that links all the band together in sinister fashion before “Turned Inside Out” finished off the flurry from their second album.
It’s around this point that it hit just how good Obituary are. They sound like a band that has been playing together for the last 30 years or so. Absolute masters.
With the occasional breather, a toast to crowd from Trevor or another batch of sewer acoustics, the band rarely gave the crowd time to recover, an absolute barrage of classic death metal.
One of my favourites from the self titled album, “A Lesson In Vengeance” was a lesson in the swinging groove that Obituary have had in their tool bag from day one. I see this as a convention that sets them apart from other death metal bands in the early years. With no warning, “Brave” (an excellent Fan video is worth checking out for this track too!) was unleashed to tear through the crowd with bodies, limbs and hair flailing everywhere you turned. Andrew’s once again reminding us all of his flawless, elegant lead work.
As the band exited the stage, the lights came down to an eerie green filter, invoking images of the slime like logo from “Slowly We Rot”. Haunting, unfathomable noises rippled through the air. It was clear that this night was not over, the tension spilled over until the band slowly made their way back onto the stage, greeted by absolute glee from all in attendance.
3 tracks helped bring the night to a close with the last one being their staple set closer, “Slowly We Rot” from the their first album. A few tricks thrown in for good measure to throw all the people off the scent who have been listening to this track for decades. Is a there a more perfect ending to an Obituary set? I think not.
I had no problem with the inclusion of a chunk of new tracks for this set, it’s an incredible album and live it’s even better. It was pleasing to be treated to so many tracks from their back catalogue, Obituary have a pretty amazing discography so set list writing must be breeze!
Such a tight band displaying just why they have been around so long doing what they do. It was a privilege to witness. With a killer line-up there was never any doubt that Obituary would deliver. Donald (Tardy) and Terry Butler with their monster rhythm section, Trevor Peres’ riff tectonics, Kenny Andrew’s blistering leads and John’s huge character of a voice. Obituary are here to stay and still have much to show the world.