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EPs have their uses. Many newcomers use them to give audiences a much-required taster of their sound. Whilst more established acts use them to hold fans at a state of anticipation (a 'teaser', if you will) until a future full-length release. A good example of this is Moonsorrow's "Tulimyrsky" - including half an hour of new material, some interesting covers, and re-recordings of demo material which greatly updated a once-decayed sound.
As one of my favourite death metal bands, Obituary have held a place in my heart for years. The muddy guitar-tone, the simple yet precise drumming of Donald Tardy, and the inimitable growl of his brother John - I am (and so are all death metal fans) so familiar with this unmatched style, that I feel I have the right to ask...why?
"Left To Die" is a pretty pointless EP consisting of similar material to the previously mentioned example. So on the menu today we have 1. A new track, 2. A re-recording of the title-track from the classic "Slowly We Rot", 3. A cover of Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor", 4. Another new track - and finally, a CD ROM containing the video to "Evil Ways". This is what they offer their fans to rave over whilst we lick our lips in anticipation of ... well, you know what came next. I listened to this EP once back in 2008, and never again. 100% for the thought, Obituary, but 0% for efficacy. It's also worth pointing out that the track-listing on the back of the CD is incorrect - the Celtic Frost cover is actually track 2. The simplicity of this blatant error is indicative of the rushed nature of this release. Did they even listen to this waste?
With regards to the new tracks, there's nothing wrong with them really! The production quality is actually superb - a mega surprise for a band who rely on their sloppy, muddy timbre. "Forces Realign" has nice contrasting sections and instantly brings back that classic 'Obituary' feeling. "Left to Die" is considerably longer and seriously drags in parts, but not unbearable. The major problem is that these tracks were to appear on 2009's "Darkest Days" anyway...so again I ask...why?
Obituary have already done a Celtic Frost cover ("Circle of the Tyrants"), so now they find it necessary to add their Flori-death stylings to "Dethroned Emperor"...for some reason. "Slowly We Rot" is a classic enough song in the Obituary catalogue that it holds its own among the all-time greats of death metal. Why re-record something so renowned when there are bound to be demos and b-sides that deserve special attention? And lastly - why include a video in CD ROM format, when the convenience of YouTube had already existed for half a decade? Why why WHY?!?
In conclusion, "Left To Die" is totally valueless. If you're a die-hard fan of Florida death metal, go and see the Symbolic 'Death To All' tour for a true treat whilst you wait with bated breath for the next long-player from the Tardy Brothers. 10% for the production quality and artwork, -90% for the sheer worthlessness.
Left to Die is one of those quaint little EP releases that does very little to justify its own existence, but nevertheless, Xecutioner's Return must have stirred up enough excitement that Obituary were 'returning to their roots', so Candlelight gave it a green light. The best I was hoping for from this was that the band continued to pace themselves and actually write out their new material, rather than offer anything further along the dry and abominable axis of 2005's Frozen in Time. It would have been great if the band could settle into a positive evolution, unlike the grooving and hardcore that inspired them in the 90s, but such is just not going to be the case.
There are two new tracks here, "Forces Realign" and "Left to Die", which would be included at the end of their next full-length, the mediocre Darkest Day. This sort of gimps about half the value of the EP itself. But even had they been exclusives, neither is really any good They do at least follow the example of Xecutioner's Return in bring out the early 90s, with the same focus on the leads, but the rhythm riffs are pretty meek, with only one bordering on catchy (the verse of "Forces Realign"). These are joined by a re-recording of their classic "Slowly We Rot", which is a waste of space, adding absolutely nothing of note that could not be gleaned from the original other than marginally modern production and a tweaked but forgettable solo; and a cover of Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor". This is not the first time Obituary have paid tribute to their major influence, "Circle of the Tyrants" (from Cause of Death) is a quite beloved cover, but this time out it's not so effective, lacking much of the original's charm.
Lastly, they've included a video for "Evil Ways", which is little more than a standard rock star exhibition, the band banging their heads in front of an American flag while skulls and other grisly images are occasionally superimposed on them. Not the worst I've seen, and the song itself is one of the better tracks of Xecutioner's Return, but again, it's not really a reason to pursue this. You can just watch the video on Youtube or something and get just as much value. In the end, Left to Die should be left out to pasture. It's got two album tracks from one of their weakest efforts (Darkest Day is even less appealing than The End Complete, if not as bad as Frozen in Time), a remake of a classic that needs no such treatment, and then an average cover. Save your dough.
So many bands want to capture that “old-school” feel. You know, the raw production, with echoing vocals, and the not-the-most powerful guitars without having the instruments come off as thin. Well this EP absolutely nails that raw, underground feeling, as though the band was completely alone in a dark studio, and that “Left to Die” was made just for you!
From a musical standpoint, Obituary has been very different from other death mtal bands, preferring to keep the action slow and deliberately plodding, only enhancing the gloomy, dark and lonely atmosphere. Not only that, but lead guitarist Ralph Santolla has also found his place for in the band. On the previous Obituary album, he had some difficulty making his guitar solos fit, but in this case, he keeps his solos short, sweet and simple - a perfect fit for the band. Also of note is vocalist John Tardy, as his vocals come through very clearly. While there are no lyrics included with “Left to Die”, you can certainly make out the lyrics to “Forces Realign” - they actually wrote lyrics for a song! Although I’m not so sure about the song “Left to Die”…
It should be known that of the four songs, two are brand new, one being a re-recording of the song “Slowly we Rot”, the title track of the bands very first album, and a cover of the song “Dethroned Emperor” by Celtic Frost, a band which obituary takes heavy influence from.
This is probably an EP just for those people who want more Obituary, which this shows off perfectly.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
This is definitely not a cash grabbing EP at all. I know Obituary doesn't play music for the money. This EP features two brand songs, a Celtic Frost cover and a re-recording of their classic song Slowly We Rot. The sound production is pretty much the same as the production of Xecutioner's Return. It once again sounds too overdone. Other than that, it's not too bad. One thing I noticed, the bass is in there now. I have good ears and it sounds like the bass was kicked up a notch slightly.
Forces Realign is a good mid-paced tune. I like it a lot. They did a great job on here. The guitar riffs are really good. John Tardy and his brother work well together. Awesome vocals and drumming are on this track. Ralph Santolla and Trevor Peres are a great guitar team and they lay down some nice heavy riffing on here. Yes, amazingly I can hear Frank Watkins' bass performance. The guitar leads are pretty impressive on this. The guitar solo is totally awesome. It is something I would expect from an excellent lead guitarist.
Dethroned Emperor is a pretty good cover. To be brutally honest, I think Vader's cover is much better. The cow bell does not go well at all for this song. Yes Donald Tardy uses a cow bell in this and it doesn't fit. John Tardy's vocals are slightly better than Vader's vocals. Obituary is quite influenced by Celtic Frost and it is no surprise that they recorded their version of Dethroned Emperor. They did cover Circle of the Tyrants on their excellent sophomore effort Cause of Death.
Now the re-recording of Slowly We Rot is actually superb. I am surprised that it came out really nicely. Ralph Santolla really improves the guitar leads in this song. I am quite impressed by it. The title track is another mid-paced song that is really great. I like the guitar leads in this one. The drumming is pretty solid in it too. I like the china crashes Donald Tardy performs. They are executed very well.
I looked all over for this in my mall. None of the stores carried it, so I had to order it. If you are a diehard Obituary fan such as myself, I suggest you order this one. I enjoyed Xecutioner's Return a lot, so I had to get this EP. If you download it, that's cool by me. If you buy it, you're an awesome person in my book. You are supporting a really fantastic death metal band that cares about their fans. Please buy this if you enjoyed Xecutioner's Return as much as me.
After the underwhelming Xecutioner's Return, Obituary are back with a new EP. The EP runs for only 20 minutes and contains 4 songs, out of which only 2 are original material: Left To Die and Forces Re-align. The other two songs are Dethroned Emperor, which is a Celtic Frost cover and then there's a remake of a classic Obituary song – Slowly We Rot.
With Xecutioner's Return, the band had an idea of the type of sound they wanted to achieve, but the failed miserably with the execution of that idea. They wanted to go back to the Slowly We Rot era, when Obituary were making fast and ugly death metal. With this new EP (which is actually just a preview of the next album, I think), Obituary try to tap the magic that made Cause of Death a landmark death metal album. The Celtic Frost influences, which were missing in Xecutioner's Return, are now back and are more prominent than ever before.
Left To Die and Forces Re-align are both mid-tempo and atmospheric, just like the songs on Cause of Death. The two tracks wouldn't have sounded out of place in The End Complete either. The cover of Dethroned Emperor is the best track in the album, and it is also much better than Celtic Frost's interpretation of the song. The Slowly We Rot remake is decent but has a sour aftertaste.
Ralph Santolla and Trevor Peres work well together and Donald Tardy is as solid as ever, but its John Tardy's vocals that let the band down. Ever since Obituary have re-united, John Tardy's vocals seem powerless and... boring. The raspiness in his growl is gone and he sounds like an old man trying too hard to do a proper death growl. Gone are the days of his powerful and spine-chilling vocals that peaked in Cause of Death. I hope he sounds better on the upcoming full length.
Anyways.. its a decent EP, and is, from a musical perspective, a return to form. John's vocals leave a lot to be desired though. I recommend this to anyone who was disappointed with Xecutioner's Return.
Death metal legends Obituary strike back with an EP containing two brand new songs in addition to a re-recording of one of their oldest tracks and a cover of the now defunct Celtic Frost’s ‘Dethroned Emperor’. Obituary have a trademark sound and have not compromised this since their inception. The new tracks on this release, ‘Forces Realign’ and ‘Left To Die’, harvest the raw crushing death metal riffs. ‘Forces Realign’ is more varied in that the trademark sounds modernised and it contains a thick groove influence. Unfortunately, it feels somewhat empty but this is the only real limitation on the release.
The Celtic Frost cover precedes the ‘Slowly We Rot’ re-recording on my version (whether there was a printing error or I own an anomaly copy is not clear). This ‘Dethroned Emperor’ cover displays the Obituary guitar sound although the dirty Celtic Frost one is still eminent. This is certainly an interesting listen. The re-recording of the death metal classic ‘Slowly We Rot’ is cleaned up and utilizes superior production to the original and feels slightly slower.
Overall, this release is recommended to fans of Obituary. Casual death metal fans will most probably reap little from this release but it’s far from a useless effort.
Originally written for www.soundshock.net