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Review of the Album "Cause of Death" by American Death Metal Band Obituary

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Why This Album May Be Better Than Obituary's Debut Album Slowly We Rot

Cause of Death is the 2nd studio album by American death metal band Obituary and it was released in September 1990. It is obviously not a pleasant album in terms of the lyrics because the songs cover very morbid lyrical themes. Given the fact that their debut album Slowly We Rot was so poor, how does this one compare to their debut? Initially in the early stages, it appears to be significantly better and one of these reasons may be the fact that James Murphy contributes on the album playing lead guitars.

One Quality That Listeners May Notice About Vocalist John Tardy

Cause of Death is one of those albums that is considered a death metal classic. It is especially noticeable that vocalist John Tardy does indeed sound like the late Chuck Schuldiner. He uses a few loud, bellowing growls in this album to build up the atmosphere of the song like Chuck would do. You might be wondering if John Tardy was influenced by Schuldiner and that’s a great question to ask in terms of analyzing his vocals. The album’s title however is indeed a very morbid one but this was one of the common practices for death metal bands at the time.


Not a Death Metal Classic But Cause of Death is a Better Album Than the Debut

The riffing on this album is still very much raw like the late 1980s death metal but by this time we were transitioning into a new decade and soon the United States would face competition from European death metal bands that had the chance to prove their skills and technical prowess. For death metal albums, Cause of Death isn’t a masterpiece but it is a significant improvement over this Florida band’s debut album. In particular, pay attention to the beginning of the first song called “Infected.” It feels like this sort of really ominous beginning but it creates the atmosphere for what is to become a rather memorable first track. Such a musical start is just what they should have done given the band’s name, style, and album title. Even the solo’s style and structure is reminiscent of what you will hear on death metal albums such as Human which would be released the following year. However, such an analysis is in no way meant to compare Trevor Peres or James Murphy to the one and only Chuck Schuldiner even though Murphy’s contributions do strengthen this album for sure. The raw sound in songs such as “Dying” do resemble what the band Sacrifice did in the late 1980s with their album Crest of Black.

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© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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