he intense and often disturbing sounds of the death metal band Obituary depict a unique style that took them and music to the outer most extremes of experimentation. Their deep bass with a growling vocalist and intense lyrics created a sound that catered to the most intense Metal fan. They got their start in Brandon, Florida, USA. where they formed in 1985 alongside the others in the then rampant Florida death metal scene like Death, Morbid Angel and Deicide. After contributing two tracks to the Metal Massacre compilations as Xecutioner, they changed their name to Obituary after the discovery of a Boston based band by the Executioner moniker.
By the time 'Roadrunner Records' came, the membership consisted of John Tardy (vocals), Allen West (ex-Lowbrow/ex-Massacre; guitar), Trevor Peres (guitar), David Tucker (bass) and Donald Tardy (drums). Slowly We Rot (1989) saw the band's first album effort. It was most characterized by Tardy's guttural growls, almost indecipherable at times, but overall a good enough effort to land them a spot in the halls of classic death metal stardom and avoid the sometimes silly criticisms often levied against death bands. Their distinctive logo and grim cover art also served to help their popularity within the genre. Cause Of Death (1990) saw them introduce James Murphy (ex-Death; guitar), who replaced the departing West, while Tucker was replaced by Frank Watkins. This release was a refined piece of work from its predecessor, but the lyrics of intense carnage and hideous imagery took death metal into a whole new realm of meaning and explored the outer regions of Rock music. The End Complete (1992) was no less gory of a production that also saw West returning to fulfill the spot of Murphy who left to join Cancer.
World Demise (1994) saw their act refined even more, and the press release from Peres explained all that was going on, "We're serious people and we want to be taken seriously", a statement that would drive death metal into the 1990s. Indeed, even their music had tempered somewhat, but while their contemporaries handed in their horror films and butcher knives for less scary instruments, Obituary kept stalking the graveyard with the Back From The Dead release in 1997. While Trevor Peres was working on his own band Catastrophic, West in the mean time, teamed up with Cannibal Corpse's Chris Barnes on the side project Six Feet Under (USA), all of these differences caused the band to retire by the end of the year.
There was still a backlog of material to publish and their first live offering, Dead (Live), would crawl out of the grave in 1998, followed by a "best of..." compilation titled simply Anthology, in 2001. Retirement, perhaps, but not for long for they re-united in 2004 to release Frozen in Time in 2005. The band's first live DVD, Frozen Alive, was released in January of 2007, August of that year saw the arrival of Xecutioner's Return on the 'Candlelight' label, as well as the EP Left to Die (2008) and Darkest Day (2009).
While guitarist, Allen West, was incarcerated for DUI (driving under influence), his Ralph Santolla filled in for West while he was unable to record and tour until his release in 2008.
Inked in Blood (2014) was the first album not to be recorded with longtime bassist Frank Watkins (Terry Butler replaced him). They had started recording the album in 2010, the long delay was so they could self-release. In 2013, the band rebuilt their studio, and continued work on the aforementioned album. On August 2, 2013, the band launched a campaign with a goal of raising $10,000.00; the money raised was to allow the band to record and release their ninth album independently. The goal was met on August 3. Though the band raised enough money to self-release, they still signed to 'Relapse Records' for distribution of it; their first recording with that label.
On October 18, 2015, former bassist Frank Watkins died from cancer.
On August 24, 2016, the band streamed the song Loathe, a b-side to their then-upcoming single Ten Thousand Ways to Die that was finally released on on October 21 of that year.
Their self-titled album arrived in 2017.
Footnote: Since 2012, the band have been highly involved with the promotion of a new social networking site called "Unation", as well as Donald Tardy beginning a cat sanctuary organization called "Metal Meowlisha", an organization practicing "trap-neuter-vaccinate-return" stray cats.
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