Review Summary: An absolute death metal classic.
June 14th 1989. Metal fans the world over are astounded by what is now one of the most infamous metal records of all time. Slowly We Rot
by Obituary is still every bit as relevant, not to mention gut wrenchingly ferocious, today as it was on the day of it’s release. Perhaps it was the malevolence and brutality bands like Death had not fully achieved yet that made Obituary such an attractive outlet for death metal fans across the globe. Perhaps it was the viciousness of John Tardy’s voice which still melt the ears of even the most hardened of listeners. Not to say that death metal bands preceding them were by any means bad song writers, but Slowly We Rot
combines speed, grooves and riffs all of immense quality, not to mention snarling vocals of gross hostility. The combination of musical ability and all of the above are only a number of factors which have led to the success of not only this outstanding album, but the band itself.
For many fans of band and genre, their anticipation for this album was well placed. Slowly We Rot
has many factors which fans of thrash would expect, an energetic surge that makes for a truly great album. However, many songs here signify the transition into death metal, each song becoming faster and faster in tempo and never for a second letting up on the brutality. Double bass drum work is present in abundance from Donald Tardy; riffs are sharp, complex and extremely infectious. John Tardy utilizes his voice to great effect, from fierce thrash yelling transcending into low, guttural death metal growls; this man is quite a talent behind the mic in many aspects. Tardy stands at the fore of a monstrous juggernaut of a band who will go on to become one of the biggest selling and most influential death metal acts of all time.
From the first eerie moments of “Internal Bleeding” transcending to a thrash laden riff with the slightest dash of sludge, it is immediately clear we are in for something special. Not only a great song but a perfect album opener. Tardy delivers a truly punishing performance with his clearly distinguishable voice, growling like a wounded beast, he pummels each and every listener into the sudden awareness that something colossal is taking place. From this moment on Obituary never let up on the intensity and aggression. By the time third track “’Til Death” kicks in the album is in full swing. Malicious riffing from Trevor Peres and Allen West, crushing drumming and Tardy dominating on vocals with his trademark growls. Right through the sludgy title track to the lightning fast “Gates To Hell”, every track here offers something new to the fray. Adding more and more fire power to the band’s already impressive arsenal. The manner in which these men display their art, with perpetual confidence and blinding force, not to mention the quality of music that develop from this, is an ominous sign for anyone who doubted the future of this band pre release.
Slowly We Rot
is an unrelenting enigma that simply desecrates everything that stands in its path. An album that would ultimately propel Obituary to legendary status. An album that truly set the standard in terms of quality, belligerence and raw power for every extreme metal release that was to follow. Obituary remain one of the most original death metal bands in style and this is a great introduction album for those pursuing an interest in the death metal scene. An undisputed seminal masterpiece and an essential for all who appreciate the genre.