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After Obituary's first reunion album "Frozen In Time", their lead guitarist Allen West had to left the band because he got arrested. He was replaced by Ralph Santolla, who has played with Deicide, Iced Earth, Death and many others. Anyway "Xecutioner's Return" is a great album. And this is in my opinion their best album since "The End Complete", if not better.
Musically this is really close to their older albums, closest would probably be "The End Complete". There is a lot of good riffs on this album. They sound a little bit more thrashy than on their previous album, but most of the riffs does still have that death metal sounds on them. I hope you understood what I was trying to say with that. This album has a lot more solos than "Frozen In Time", which is also a small nod to their earlier albums. And most of the solos are amazing in my opinion. Santolla's solos are a little bit different to Allen West's solos, as Santolla's solos are a lot more technical, but they are missing a vibe that West had on his solos.
The whole band gives a good performance here. John Tardy's growls are as good as ever, but they are a little bit more cleaner than on their earlier albums. Donald Tardy's drumming is also great, he doesn't really bring anything new, but why fix something that works. Guitarists Trevor Perez and Ralph Santolla both does a great job. Trevor's riffs are good and heavy, and Ralph Santolla's leads are great. Also Frank Watkins bass work is great.
Production is also good. Although some people seems to dislike it, but in my opinion it's good. It's not as clean as the production on "Frozen In Time", but I like this kind of productions that are not too clean. It reminds me of the production that is on "The End Complete", especially guitars sound similar.
This is not a perfect album by any means, as there is a few duller moments, but I'm quite sure that most of the Obituary fans will find something to enjoy from this album.
Highlights: "Face Your God", "Evil Ways", "Drop Dead", "Seal Your Fate", "Feel The Pain", "Contrast The Dead" and "Lies"