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The beginning of modern death metal - 90%

Wez, December 28th, 2002

The extremity of Obituary's (formerly known as Xecutioner) debut album "Slowly We Rot" pushed death metal to what it is today. They and the new Florida death metal explosion separated the death/thrash of the 80s from what we would consider death metal today. Bands like Death were already spewing out masses of gore ridden death, but the world wasn't quite prepared for what Obituary gave us.

"Internal Bleeding" opens the album with a short intro passage featuring ominous sounds that could only have come from Hell itself before plunging straight into the band's unique guitar sound and vocals of John Tardy (whose growls, shrieks and screams mix powerful emotion with screeching horror) It is a primitive, yet very powerful opener, the repetitive riffs taking on a hypnotic quality while Tardy's vocals almost overwhelm on first listen with Allen West's ripping solos impressing. "Godly Beings" can be described as short and sweet (if that is the right word), being very short but packing the punch of the opener. "Til Death" sees more complexity in the songwriting and several intersting time changes. The title track provides plenty of heavy, crunching riffs (dare I say catchy also?) with insane, horrific soloing which sounds very atmospheric and dark. "Immortal Visions" starts with some briliantly executed time changes and along with "Gates To Hell" houses plenty of energy and grinding riffs. Taking a less serious moment is the title of the next track, "Words Of Evil" which is, ironically, an instrumental. It goes on at a fast but steady pace, but I'm sure the main riff sounds very similar to one that had come earlier in the album. "Suffocation" is solid, not quite up to the standard of earlier tracks but not skippable either.

The album up to this point was quite technically limited (being recorded on only 8 tracks) and the remainder has a far more polished sound, though the direct, brutal sound is no less powerful compared to the latter part of the album. "Intoxicated" is the longest and most complex song here, the song structure is different here, with lengthy soloing and brutal riffing. Another short but powerful song with "Deadly Intentions", though perhaps over too quickly for all its merits. "Bloodsoaked" and "Stinkupuss" end the original tracks with more of the same quality material. The bonus tracks provided on the 97 remaster are, surprisingly, worth it. "Find The Arise" and "Like The Dead" are both well produced and display some good ability, with some less extreme vocals from Mr. Tardy. As for the rest of the musicmanship, Donald Tardy's drumming is skillful and accurate throughout, shining on "Intoxicated" and "Immortal Visions".

Obituary remain one of the most original death metal bands in style. This is pretty much an essential album for death metal fans and is a very good introduction to the genre.