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Ralph Santolla is AMAZING!!! - 95%

Deranged, July 31st, 2007

Wow! This is some really impressive stuff. When I heard that Obituary were going to be releasing a new album, I knew it was going to be worth a good listen, but this is their best since Cause of Death, in my honest opinion. When I first heard that the title of this album was going to be Xecutioner’s Return, I suspected that they were going to try and bring back what they’d accomplished on the first 2 albums, and I was right.

Okay on to the music, this album really shows me what Trevor Perez can do without Allen West. I really think that Allen was holding them back, because Trevor can write some really good riffs. The riffs are very thrashy sounding, and more Celtic Frost influence it seems, but they still keep the death metal sound. Oh and I couldn’t leave out Ralph Santolla’s guitar work, holy shit, these solos are phenomenal, they fit in so much better with Obituary music than Deicide’s. I hope Santolla stays with Obituary because, technically he is so much better that West. You know how on the first couple of albums, there was sort of a dark atmosphere to the music; well you don’t hear that in this album. It has more of an upbeat feel to it, and that isn’t a bad thing.

Of course, Tardy’s still has his abnormal vocals, I have never heard any vocals like this in the death metal scene, and that is what really attracts me to their music. The drums are the same as always, Donald Tardy’s drumming style is one thing that hasn’t changed since Obituary conception, and they are better than ever. The production on this album is more like the earlier albums than the recent ones. It is not as clean sounding as Frozen in Time, and that is the part that reminds me most of Cause of Death.

This is a much better album than Frozen in Time, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the early style of Obituary. Great Release!!