Conjure and Command: Toxic Holocaust

Rating: 80%

IConjure_and_commandn 2011, Toxic Holocaust released in what I would say is a Sodom style like Trash Metal album that isn’t too shabby. In fact, I think that this album is a solid release.

Joel Grind really throws out some very heavy riffs and leads. His raspy vocal style gives a bit of eeriness to the overall sound.  Phil Zeller has some decent bass lines, but the backbone really goes to Nick Bellmore on the skins.

Musically, it’s got a lot of energy and power. The song structures are very short, which is what classic Thrash Metal used to do. The entire album is less than 33 minutes long. Now, there’s isn’t anything new on this album that hasn’t already been done.  But, this a way to introduce classic and old school Thrash Metal to a new generation. Toxic Holocaust just steps up to the plate and updates this style of metal into their own, adding a dash of Speed Metal and Black Metal to the final product. That is what I really admired about this album when I first heard it.

Track listing:

No. Title Length
1. “Judgment Awaits You” 1:55
2. “Agony of the Damned” 3:59
3. “Bitch” 2:49
4. “Red Winter” 3:32
5. “Nowhere to Run” 3:46
6. “I Am Disease” 4:24
7. “In the Depths (Of Your Mind)” 2:43
8. “The Liars Are Burning” 2:54
9. “Revelations” 2:50
10. “Sound the Charge” 3:17

Obituary: Obituary

Rating:90%

Obituary_-_ObituaryFor over 30 years, the boys from FLA have been throwing death growls and heavy music. 2017 is no exception with the self-titled release. John Tardy still proves that his vocals are showing no signs of wearing down. His brother, Donald is still pounding those skins as he did back in 1989 when the first release “Slowly We Rot” came out. Trevor Peres still throws out these mighty and crunchy riffs. Pounding the bass is Terry Butler and throwing down on the lead guitar is Kenny Andrews.

Going off of their material from their last release “Inked In Blood”, Obituary proves that if the wheel isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. That is exactly what this album represents. Meaning the song structures are basically the same. Now, many newer fans to the band, hate the fact that Obituary’s style isn’t what it was now as to their earlier material. What do you expect?

Musically, this album is high energy from start to finish. With monstrous fast riffs, screaming leads & fills, hard pounding drumming and screaming vocals. This album is like a freight train running at full speed ahead.  “Sentence Day” is a great example of how powerful this band can be. This album does have a nice change of tempos, after full speed on the first two tracks, the album slows down by just letting off of the throttle with “A Lesson in Vengeance.” This song also features some really good bass lines that are clearly heard as well as a kick ass lead solo. “Straight to Hell” is a bit more complex and features all of these very weird off beats.

For their tenth album, yes, I will admit that this is the same album that has been released over and over again. I would rather have that, than nothing at all. Many bands that have been around for twenty-five plus years all have released the same album. I would diffidently recommend this to any one who is into classic Death Metal.

Track listing:

1. “Brave” 2:14
2. “Sentence Day” 2:49
3. “A Lesson in Vengeance” 3:07
4. “End It Now” 4:02
5. “Kneel Before Me” 3:04
6. “It Lives” 3:24
7. “Betrayed” 3:01
8. “Turned to Stone” 4:13
9. “Straight to Hell” 3:57
10. “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” 3:16

Bonus track:

1. No Hope

Darkest Day: Obituary

Rating: 80%

Obituary_-_Darkest_Day.jpg“Darkest Day” released in 2009 was the last album to feature guitarist Ralph Santolla and bassist Frank Watkins. Like the previous album “Xecutioner’s Return”, the song structures are more lengthened for Santolla’s lead solos. The music is a bit more polished and there is some experimentation taking place. This album to me is a continuation of the previous release. All and all, it’s still a good album.

This album sticks with the basics that Obituary is known for. Dark lyrical themes of death and violence. John Hardy hasn’t lost those famous death growls and shrieks. Santolla and Trevor Peres unleash these brutal, crunchy and gritty riffs. Some of these tend to be recycled, so there are fillers on this album. With Santolla taking the lead guitar spot, there is a certain degree of flair and melody to the song structures. It consists of those heavy and faster tempos set fourth by Donald Hardy who just beats on that drum kit like there is no tomorrow. Listen to “Blood To Give.” Giving the band that extra heavy sound is bassist Frank Watkins.

Track listing:

1. “List of Dead” 3:34
2. “Blood to Give” 3:35
3. “Lost Inside” 3:55
4. “Outside My Head” 3:52
5. “Payback” 4:29
6. “Your Darkest Day” 5:07
7. “This Life” 3:45
8. “See Me Now” 3:23
9. “Fields of Pain” 3:19
10. “Violent Dreams” 1:58
11. “Truth Be Told” 4:49
12. “Forces Realign” 4:39
13. “Left to Die” 6:20

Embedded: Meathook Seed

Rating: 80%

Meathook_Seed_-_Embedded.pngIn 1993, musicians from two bands came together to form a side project called Meathook Seed. It features Obituary drummer Donald Tardy and guitarist Trevor Peres, who is the main vocalist for this album. It also features Napalm Death guitarist Mitch Harris on guitars and bass along with the programming.

This project is a decent collaboration of combining elements of Hardcore Punk, Death Metal with Industrial Metal. The result is a sound that is very huge and rich. The guitars are polished with a rich sound. There are some very weird guitar riffs on this album that isn’t overwhelming. It’s hardcore, thrashy, and yet, heavy enough using the elements of Death Metal. The bass lines are the same way. The drumming is progressive, heavy, and monstrous. Donald Tardy plays a very tight shift. The electric sound of the programming is another feature one will notice. It’s well balanced and doesn’t take away from the overall sound. This is a good overall album that is somewhat a forgotten record.

Track listing:

1. “Famine Sector” 4:09
2. “A Furred Grave” 3:47
3. “My Infinity” 3:01
4. “Day of Conceiving” 3:20
5. “Cling to an Image” 2:48
6. “A Wilted Remnant” 4:34
7. “Forgive” 3:24
8. “Focal Point Blur” 3:04
9. “Embedded” 2:07
10. “Visible Shallow Self” 2:27
11. “Sea of Tranquillity” 13:43

Xecutioner’s Return: Obituary

Rating: 90%

xecutioners_return_cover_v5So, many fans of Death Metal either hates this album or loves this album. It all depends on how you view Obituary as a band. For me, I thought that this album was done very well.

The musicianship is very strong and very tight. With the Ralph Santolla taking Allen West’s place on lead guitar, you’ll notice right away that the song structures are more lengthened to allow the solos in each song. These solos are a lead guitarist dream when it comes to playing scales. It’s got plenty of raking of the strings, hammer on’s and hammer off’s. The usage of harmonics along with the whammy bar is an added bonus. Trevor Peres throws out these brutal riffs with toned down guitar sounds. Frank Watkins’s bass is closer to the front and his lines are more complex. Donald Tardy’s drumming is top notch. Then you have the growls of John Tardy which are outstanding.

Musically, you see Obituary expanding their horizons. There is some experimentation with Thrash Metal being mixed with Groove Metal, while maintaining their signature style. It also seems that Obituary barrows and combines all of their previous work on this album. There is also a certain melodic sound to this record.The riffs are more thrashy and groovey. It’s Death Metal on steroids.

The end result equals out to tempos being conducted much faster, and at times very raw with a certain degree of heaviness. Some of the songs are very complex, while others are simple and lengthy. With all of these elements combined, this should have been the come back album rather than “Frozen in Time.” But you  know what? Being a fan of this band since the release of “Slowly We Rot”, I am just glad that this band this still as powerful and putting out music this good as they were back then.

Track listing:

1. “Face Your God” 2:56
2. “Lasting Presence” 2:12
3. “Evil Ways” 2:57
4. “Drop Dead” 3:35
5. “Bloodshot” 3:25
6. “Seal Your Fate” 2:30
7. “Feel the Pain” 4:31
8. “Contrast the Dead” 7:01
9. “Second Chance” 3:28
10. “Lies” 3:32
11. “In Your Head” 4:31

Back From the Dead: Obituary

Rating: 85%

Back_from_the_Dead.jpgSo, if I died and returned as a zombie, demon or even an angel, the first thing I would do is crank it up to Obituary. This is a great blend of Death Metal being fused with some influences of Groove Metal and Hardcore music. This album also marks the downfall of Obituary. This 1997 release is much better than their previous “World Demise.”

Musically, this album is pretty good. There’s a good collection of riffs, some leads, and heavy drumming.  John Tardy’s vocals sound just as good on this album. I noticed that the Frank Watkins bass is a bit more forward among the sound. Donald Tardy’s drumming is still among the progressive side of experimenting.

The song structures are a bit sloppy, but that is what makes this album good. This album opens with the heavy hitter “Threatening Skies.” This song begins with a great heavy fast riff and it doesn’t stop there either. The guitars of both Allen West and Trevor Peres never quit. The leads and fill ins are decent, although, like some of the previous material, it role of the lead guitar is a bit absence. As the album progresses, some of the song structures feature several wired rests. “Back from the Dead” is one of those examples. The main structure is slow and heavy, but then there are a few areas of a few seconds rest.

There are a lot of good songs on here and yes, there are a few fillers. But all and all, this is still a decent Obituary album. It does have some good melodies that are brutal, heavy, and aggressive. Most of the music is on the faster side, with few on the slower side.

Track listing:

1. “Threatening Skies” 2:19
2. “By the Light” 2:55
3. “Inverted” 2:53
4. “Platonic Disease” 4:06
5. “Download” 2:45
6. “Rewind” 4:03
7. “Feed on the Weak” 4:15
8. “Lockdown” 4:11
9. “Pressure Point” 2:25
10. “Back from the Dead” 5:12
11. “Bullituary (Remix)” (featuring DJ’s Diablo D and Skinner T)  3:43

World Demise: Obituary

Rating: 80%

Worlddemise.jpgIn 1994, Obituary released “World Demise.” This album contains the protest song to man made pollution “Don’t Care.” Musically, this album is dark, heavy, and faster than their previous works. A little less energetic, this album still has the brutal and aggression that Obituary is known for.

The music for the most part still have that same structure as their previous albums. The key to the heaviness is the low D tunning with the toned down sound on the guitars. You have the growls and evilness in the vocals of John Hardy, kick ass guitar work and sound by Allen West and Trevor Peres. Allen West’s solos still scream loudly. Their plenty of slower heavy riffs while several of the songs contain much faster riffs. The tempos by Donald Tardy on drums are aggressive and powerful. Frank Watkins throws out several thunderous bass lines.

Track listing:

1. “Don’t Care” 3:08
2. “World Demise” 3:43
3. “Burned In” 3:32
4. “Redefine” 4:39
5. “Paralyzing” 4:57
6. “Lost” 3:59
7. “Solid State” 4:38
8. “Splattered” 4:15
9. “Final Thoughts” 4:08
10. “Boiling Point” 3:09
11. “Set in Stone” 4:50
12. “Kill for Me” 5:59

Bonus:

13. “Killing Victims Found” 5:05
14. “Infected [Live]” 5:00
15. “Godly Beings [Live]” 2:01
16. “Body Bag [Live]” 5:59