Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Obituary - The End Complete (1992)

In 1991, Obituary returned to the rotten halls of Morrisound, in Tampa, to record their third full-length album. Produced by the inept Scott Burns, The End Complete was released in April 1992 on Roadrunner Records. While this is not a bad album, it was pretty clear that the band had reached the end of their creativity. Commercially speaking, this was a very successful release for Obituary and for Death Metal, in general. However, that does not reflect the quality of the material presented.

Musically, The End Complete offers nothing new and serves only to rehash the material from Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death, while lacking the vicious aggression of the former and the epic nature of the latter. Some of this may have to do with the playing style of the returning Allen West, which is more straightforward than that of James Murphy. His solos still possess character, much moreso than what a lot of other Death Metal bands were doing, but just lacks something when compared to Murphy's work. The riffs and arrangements are exactly what one would expect from Obituary, though slightly more simplistic than before. This may account for the high volume of records sold, as anything that is easier to digest will appeal to more people. Not surprisingly, the Celtic Frost influence seems to have increased, during the songwriting process. There is an abundance of heavy, mid-paced riffs that would make Tom Warrior proud. John Tardy's vocals even seem somewhat streamlined and restrained when compared to those of the last record. While The End Complete is solid, one gets the feeling of having heard all of this before, thus the material is unable to make the same kind of impact. The overall feeling is kind of dry, rather than the gloomy atmosphere that pervaded its predecessor.

The production features the same problems possessed by most Death Metal albums that were recorded at Morrisound, particularly the ones handled by Scott Burns. That guy sure knew how to drain something of any individual character that it may have had, otherwise. While the guitar tone is somewhat different than on the previous album, sounding more in line with the old Celtic Frost releases, it is still rather sterile and generic. Most all of the albums recorded in that studio came out with a very similar sound, which was a disservice to each band that got this horrible treatment. Then again, it may be their fault for going there in the first place. Either way, The End Complete could have been salvaged had the band opted for a different studio and gotten more of a raw and old school sound.

The End Complete is a solid, if average, Death Metal album and should please most Obituary fans. Just realize that everything here had already been done better on the previous albums. With this release, the band ended their time of relevance and soon descended deeper into mediocrity. Nonetheless, this one is worth a few listens.