Obituary - Xecutioner's Return (Candlelight Records) - Back
Obituary returned to the scene after several years of dormancy with 2005's "Frozen in Time," and recently released the follow up "Xecutioner's Return". "Xecutioner's Return" really not much different than anything Obituary have done before. They just did it right this time, something that they have not fully accomplished since 1994's "World Demise" album. Obituary’s simplistic, bludgeoning approach, once their greatest asset, had become a liability on both "Back From The Dead" and "Frozen in Time". The song writing was simply not as memorable as it had been on earlier works, because of this both of those albums came off as somewhat flat and boring.

This problem has been remedied, the songs on "Xecutioner's Return" are much more memorable and varied. The most obvious difference is Ralph Santolla replacing Allen West on lead guitar. Santolla is a more accomplished player and his leads really stand out, adding a whole different dimension to Obituary’s sound. Although the change in guitarists is the most obvious improvement, the songs themselves are far more memorable. Tempo changes play a big role here and "Xecutioner's Return" contains some of Obituary’s fastest moments. The album is still dominated by Obituary’s trademark thick, doom like riffs, but the tempo changes and expanded role of the lead guitar set the stage for the slower parts to be delivered with crushing efficiency. Hearing John’s Tardy’s unmistakable growl always brings a smile to my face. On "Xecutioner's Return," Tardy has somehow improved his enunciation with out changing the way he sounds. I really can’t figure this one out, Tardy sounds the same, but for some reason you can actually understand him now. Regardless, he is one of the most menacing sounding vocalists in death metal and his voice remains truly unique.

If you are looking for something innovative or technically challenging, you should look elsewhere. This is old school death metal, simple, to the point and crushing. "Xecutioner's Return" has a natural honest feel that is becoming more and more rare in modern death metal. This album sounds like death metal sounded in the early 90's and there are times when something old can be a breath of fresh air, this is one of those times. OBITUARY WILL SMASH YOUR STUPID FACE!


Reviewed By: Garett F.