Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Obituary - Cause of Death: Live Infection (2022)

Like it's companion piece, Slowly We Rot: Live & Rotting, this is a full live presentation of one of Obituary's classic albums, and this one happens to be my favorite across their catalogue, so I was a fraction more juiced to check it out for those morbid, evil grooves and riffs that I clung to so much growing up. This one is also recorded in Tampa, so basically the band's home turf, and given the same extremely professional treatment, sounding just as good or better than when you're actually standing in front of the band at one of their gigs. The tunes on this album are slightly more controlled and I daresay catchier than on the debut, but at the same time they did feel slightly less carnage-strewn or extreme, but here on Live Infection, there is more of a consistency with Slowly We Rot, and as they start churning along, they get a few opportunities to measure up in extremity.

Again, they are played exactly in the order of the original, including the Celtic Frost cover of "Circle of the Tyrants", which sounds superior to the "Dethroned Emperor" they tossed onto the other record. The chords feel meaty and powerful, and since they're a little more spacious and measured than on the debut, the drums Donald's drumming feels even more powerful. Some of my favorite Obituary tunes like "Body Bag" and "Memories Remain" sound absolutely fantastic, and while John's doesn't always sound 1:1 for the studio versions, he's grotesque and intense as his throat splatters these lines all over the huge grooves. The leads sound a little better and more musical with the way their effects work in the live incarnation, and overall the first nine tracks of this brought so many great memories and turned out to be one of the better live albums I've come across in the last couple years. I realize it's trendy for all these bands to be playing their classics and some might consider it a cash grab, but the fact is a lot of these tunes probably left the set lists long ago, so it's good to have them back even in a limited capacity.

Like the Slowly We Rot live album, there are tracks added here which were not a part of the original, but a sprinkling from later in the career. "Straight to Hell" from the s/t doesn't do a ton for me, but "Threatening Skies" is exciting with its hardcore-meets-Obituary feel, and then you've got the dependable grooves of "By the Light" and while I'm no End Complete fan, I think "I'm in Pain" sounds much more explosive in this live setting than it did fronting that studio album. So in addition to me enjoying the core experience more, the add-ons are also slightly superior for me than those chosen for Live & Rotting. Having said that, I think both of these albums are better than their old 1998 live album Dead, which was actually decent in of itself, but lacks the strength that these have by focusing in on the best material the band has written still to this day. If you're a fan, or you just like really well-produced live death metal, both of these should earn a place on your shelf.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]


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