Holy fuck this is good. And just as surprising. Maybe I should explain. Obituary was the first death metal, extreme metal, whatever metal, band that I stumbled upon. My cassette copy of Slowly We Rot, with the improbably OTT bloody spiked logo, is still a prized possession. Their feral, sludgy shriek, all preverbal vocal vomit, staggering rhythms, and buzzing, organic guitar heaviness is just as galvanizing to me now as it was then. A pitch-perfect evocation of the sticky, humid violence that lurks under the perfectly-buffed and tourist-ready surface of South Florida. Nearly two decades later and Obituary is still a going and vibrant concern, which makes this dual solo outing by Obituary mainstays the Brothers Tardy even more pleasing. John Tardy and Donald Tardy are the face and spine of Obituary respectively. John is one of the most recognizable voices in metal which he uses to great effect on this album — his subhuman retch is gratifyingly intact. And Donald is one of the better drummers in the field, also having had a stint as buffoon party monster Andrew WK’s sticksman, but for the purposes of Bloodline, don’t even fucking think about that right now, as Donald steps out from behind the drums to take on rhythm guitar chores.
The Tardy Brothers project abandons the viscous dirge of Obituary, indeed most of the trappings of the death metal aesthetic for leaner, high tensile, airtight thrash. The overcast crunch is reminiscent of Metallica’s And Justice For All, Haunted, Arise Sepultura, and Prong’s sparse grind. And though you may think that John’s singular vocal styles wouldn’t make any fucking sense outside of Trevor Peres’ deathly guitar vibrations, his style is surprisingly versatile and just as at home in the bar-brawl stuttering stomp’n’swagger of “Bloodline” as it is suited to the Slayer-esque fireworks of “Fate’s Call” — complete with double bass par excellence and hyper speed guitar wasp-buzz — or the Euro power metal gallop of “Scream Descendent.” Throughout, the ferocity and joi de vivre with which the brothers attack their chosen instruments is nothing less than inspiring. They’re like the mirror crack’d version of AC/DC’s Young brothers. No new ground is broken, but this is a very welcome diversion from Obituary — it’s good to see these guys still have it.
Candlelight Records: www.candlelightrecordsusa.com