Candlelight Records 2007
I have not been paying attention to Obituary for quite some time. To be honest starting around The End Complete they really just bored me. Perhaps it was all these years away from them or maybe it was just that Xecutioner's Return is such a kick ass album, but they certainly have my attention now. The album starts off fairly straightforward enough with the up-tempo (especially for Obituary) Face Your God and Lasting Presence which display Obituary's hallmark guitar tone which sounds like it has been unearthed in a decrepit tomb. But the true mayhem starts with track 3, Evil Ways which is possibly the best song Obituary has penned since their legendary Cause of Death album. John Tardy has never sounded so morbid and ferocious at the same time, conjuring the mental image of a zombified Grizzly Bear. And the insanity continues from there with Drop Dead and Feel the Pain whose riffs are like thick slabs of meat constantly being tenderized with a sledge hammer. The most old school of all their songs on the album though is Bloodshot which sounds like it could have been lifted straight off of Slowly We Rot with its plodding riffs and those echoing bellows that sound as if they are calling from beyond the grave. These guys are most effective when they are working on the lower end of the tempo scale as it really showcases how HEAVY they really are. Obituary is so unmistakable in both their style and sound. Their guitar tone has never been duplicated and no vocalist can equal John Tardy's sore throat. One area you can certainly see that has improved over the years is Trevor Peres' soloing abilities where once he was overshadowed by James Murphy on Cause of Death, that will no longer be the case based on these performances. Just listen to the swirling arpeggios that he unleashes on Seal Your Fate and all doubt will be crushed to dust. With this album Obituary truly have returned to a state close to their original glory and have proved once again why they are one of the best selling death metal artists of all time. Xecutioner's Return is definitely worth checking out these death metal legends as they continue sowing and reaping DEATH!