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What more can be said about this death metal classic? When it was first released way back in 1989, metal fans were absolutely floored, and with good reason. Perhaps it was the crushing brutality that bands like Death and Possessed had not quite accomplished yet. Maybe it was John Tardy's vocals, which to this day still melt the ears of even the most hardened death metal fans. In addition to the vocals and the sheer heaviness of this album, the best ingredient which made Obituary stand out was songwriting.
Now I am not saying that previous death metal bands were not good songwriters, but with this album speed, groove, and devastating riffs are balanced nicely. Take the first track, "Internal Bleeding". It begins with a short, ominous intro before exploding with a groove rhythm. That rhythm stays throughout the track, making it very effective without having to use blinding speed. The very next track however takes the listener by storm. "Godly Beings" takes no prisoners as it races by leaving destruction in its wake. The song then alternates between speed and slower riffs. This pattern continues throughout the album.
While this album may seem neanderthal to a modern listener, it is essential to understand that in 1989 such songs were few and far between. "Slowly We Rot" may have followed the blueprint that earlier death metal bands drew, but Obituary made it more effective, more brutal, and (dare I say it?) more accessible.
If you have an insatiable need for speed, then you would do well to listen too songs such as "Godly Beings", "Gates To Hell", and "Words of Evil." If slower, heavier riffs are more your style, then you should listen to the title track, "Deadly Intentions", and "Bloodsoaked." Of course if you're like me, then you will completely ignore the above recommendations and simply listen to the album in its entirety, marveling at how "Slowly We Rot" is hands-down a great album. It should should be appreciated not only at how well it was written, but also how this one album was instrumental in changing the landscape of death metal in the years to come.