Obituary Anthology

Since Roadrunner already re-released Obituary's back catalogue with copious bonus tracks, what rare tracks could've possibly been exhumed for this collection? A lame remix of a lame song from a lame album ("Boiling Point," from 1997's abysmal Back From The Dead) and the mostly acoustic Venom cover "Buried Alive," which for the first time reveals front-man John Tardy's semi-clean vocals. Otherwise, the track listing proceeds chronologically through their primitive days (1989's Slowly We Rot), death metal's glory years (1990's Cause Of Death and 1992's The End Complete), their "experimental" record (1994's World Demise) and the band's final throes, when John Tardy opted for a career in gardening rather than touring. Interestingly enough, the set begins with "Find The Arise," from the pre-Obit demo as Xecutioner, though that tune first appeared on their second album, not the debut. Even though the production on the four Slowly We Rot songs is terribly tinny - as was most death metal back then - the sheer potential of this band is overwhelmingly evident. The selections from Cause Of Death are out of the original order on that record, so they sound odd. Also, not including "Infected" is bad enough, but not prefacing the concert staple "Chopped In Half" with its companion piece "Body Bag" is a real travesty (like separating Zep's "Heartbreaker" and "Living Loving Maid"). The three cuts off The End Complete are absolutely prime, as are the trio from World Demise. And the final three from Back From The Dead show that Obituary had already dug its own grave with rehashed riffs and rhythms - small potatoes, though, for a band that defined death metal for the rest of us. The album is adorned with eye-popping, old-style cover art and a newly designed classic band logo, so, at least for Obituary fans, the end is now complete. (Roadrunner)