When thinking of Obituary its always this album cover that comes to mind. Putting things into perspective, I most likely listened to this record when it first came out however I had shelved them based on their earlier Death Metal records which I was never that keen on. Hailing from Tampa Florida, they share a location and linage alongside other pioneering acts of the extreme sound that emerged from Thrash Metal in the 80s. This record however comes over twenty years after their formation and at the time an eight year hiatus following Back From The Dead. Frozen In Time caught my ear on shuffle the other day and Ive since indulged with it.
With a grisly, crunchy warm distortion tone the guitar work has a hybrid approach, crossing the axe grinding and darkness of tremolo Death Metal shredding with an obvious helping of slamming Hardcore groove. Led almost entirely by its guitar riffs the album cruises at mid-tempo, through a dense churning of thick guitar led arrangements. Guided by competent drum patterns that don't go all in with blast beats and extremities, it makes for easy listening approachable in a relative sense.
Its charm emerges when the plethora of mediocre riffs find a pacing for the equivalent of a breakdown. A percussive element goes half time and the guitars resonate with a measure of bounce and groove in the power chord dynamics. Its quite toned down but that tends to aid its deployment. The whole record has a steady tone and its atmosphere lulls you and unexpectedly jumps into lunges of movement with this two-step akin "breakdowns". Without them it would drone on and on.
Singer John Tardy is howling away throughout with his one of a kind harsh and throaty shouts. They never do however shift temperament or offer variety. The consistency of all elements makes for an album that is quick to get to grips with. Its production is well composed, the dense guitar eat up a lot of space but reverberated snare drum and punchy kick drum warp around it. The bass guitar must be mirroring as it barely makes a distinction. Overall its a very straightforward set of tracks with simple song structures however these subtle emerges of Hardcore influence are a lot of fun and that's what checking out this record has been... Fun!
Favorite Track: Redneck Stomp