Tampa Bay American death metal behemoths, Obituary, may not have started the Florida death metal scene, but they have certainly been one of its most important, tenured and influential bands. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Obituary’s birth, and the 25th anniversary of its debut slab of diseased death, Slowly We Rot. This Halloween, the band releases its ninth studio effort, Inked in Blood, which finds Obituary looking back to its earliest years for inspiration; providing a fresh, modern feel to their classic sound.
Obituary was one of the earliest death metal acts on the influential Tampa Bay scene that included such luminaries such as Death, Morbid Angel, and Deicide. Even New York’s own legendary masters of the metal macabre, Cannibal Corpse pulled up stakes and moved to Florida to be a part of the scene.
In 1984, guitarist Trevor Peres along with brothers John and Donald Tardy on vocals and drums respectively, put together the first incarnation of the band which began life as Executioner. The trio remain the heart of Obituary and continue to be the band’s primary songwriters. Other than a brief hiatus from 1997 to 2003, the band has toured and recorded constantly.
The new album, Inked in Blood marks the debut for new lead guitarist Kenny Andrews, as well as new bassist Terry Butler. Butler has been a career long friend of the band, and was a member of Death at the time Obituary released its debut album. In a recent interview with Metalholic, Donald Tardy talked about the new record which has been five years in the making, the band’s longest break between records, sharing that the band is ecstatic to get the new record into the fan’s hands. He also talked about the idea that Obituary is now three decades old:
“I never would have guessed that any band in their right minds would have stayed together for 30 years. It’s crazy how quickly 30 years have went, and you know the exciting thing is we still have a good time doing what we do. We’re as tight as we’ve ever been, we’re all best friends and we’re having a blast doing it still. Many more moons of metal for us, I believe.”
Inked in Blood also makes the first time the band has used crowd-sourcing as a means to fund a record. Obituary created a Kickstarter campaign to help finish making the record, and the fan response was explosive.
“It was very new to us when we first heard about this concept. I had no idea what Kickstarter was. We studied on it. We checked out how to do it; the effective way to do it, and I think we pulled together an effective campaign. And the fans proved they are there to back us. That’s just a great feeling to see that kind of money and that amount of people back a band by pre-ordering the album. It is a change of the times in the world of music and we’re rolling with it and innovating as much as we can. This is what keeps us afloat and this is what keeps us pushing to record new songs and new albums for the people that really, really want it.”
Obituary is also currently working on a special video for fans which looks at the history of MorrisSound Studios which was at the center of the Florida death metal scene. The studio was where the band recorded all of its early demos and albums as did most other influential death metal bands of that era.
Over the last few years, as the band prepared to do a “classics setlist live” tour, and as they prepped to write the new record, Donald shared that Obituary spent copious time listening to the early records. He admits that hearing to those earlier records helped in the writing for Inked in Blood.
“The writing process has been going on for years with this album, so some of the songs are nearly four years old. We listened to all the old albums and all the old songs and whether we think it did or not I believe it probably helped with coming up with some of those classic riffs just by us learning those old songs and performing them live. And then getting back to the studio and writing more songs for this new album. I think it had no choice but to overflow into the new songs and give it that old classic feel. I think that’s a good thing. I think fans are hoping for Obituary when they buy Obituary albums, and we are very excited about the way these songs turned out.”
Obituary will spend the fall doing a large U.S. tour in support of the new record, including a short run with Carcass. Tour dates can be found on the band’s website. Check out the full interview below.