Obituary: John Tardy (vocals); Allen West, Trevor Peres (guitar); Frank Watkins (bass guitar); Donald Tardy (drums).
Florida death metal legends Obituary get the "greatest hits" treatment with the lazily titled yet undeniably brutal Best of Obituary. As far as death metal acts go, the influential Tampa-based quintet made it up as they went along, blasting through pre-stoner metal epics like 1990s "Cause of Death" and blistering thrash offerings like "On the Floor" (2005) and "'Til Death" (1989) without missing a beat, paving the way for the myriad heavy metal subgenres that would occupy the post-millennium age of rock. Lyrically, Obituary eschewed the usual Satan-obsessed diatribes of black metal with the kind of blood and guts, entrails-centric prose that would go on to inform the burgeoning grindcore scene, and it's that mix of unpredictability and mayhem that finds them name-dropped by countless new acts. At 13 tracks, Roadrunner's Best of pales in comparison to 2001's 20-track Anthology, but while the former features nothing from 2007's excellent Xecutioner's Return, the latter's release date omits anything from the band's 2005 comeback album, Frozen in Time. Truth be told, either one is a solid kick in the head, as both feature Obituary classics like "Internal Bleeding" and the "End Complete," it's just that one has boots a few sizes bigger. ~ James Christopher Monger