Frozen in Time

One of the defining bands of the death-metal genre, Obituary forged a lumbering, thudding, dirgelike roar that stood out from the thrash and speed metal of the time with its 1989 debut, Slowly We Rot. Its chunky, down-tuned guitar throb recalls the Melvins' mile-deep midtempo grooves, while singer John Tardy's feral growls are surprisingly coherent at the slower speed.

The band's momentum petered out by the mid-'90s and its last studio album, Back from the Dead, came out eight years ago. With the recent surges of more extreme metal-related acts, it seems appropriate that Obituary returns. A meat-and-potatoes band, Obituary influenced many modern day contemporaries, but isn't Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan or even Poison the Well. What the band lacks in eclecticism, however, it makes up for in power, creating the kind of plodding, inevitable and inexorable dread Bush's foreign policy engenders in Democrats.

The album is as heavy and tight as any of the group's releases since the first album, but it's also not a departure. One of Obituary's faults may have been that it never progressed very far stylistically in the course of its career, but then again, that never seemed to hurt the Ramones (or Billy Corgan).

Obituary plays the Roxy Theatre Fri., Sept. 16, 8 p.m. $20. 3110 Roswell Road. 404-249-6400.


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