@ Newcastle o2 Academy, March 8 2010

Heavily regarded as one of the pioneering bands of Death Metal, Florida based rockers Obituary left Newcastle in their wake on their current European tour.

Warming up for a night of guttural carnage, Furnaze were an apt starter with their pile-driving chorus’ and dark breakdowns.

Andorran band Persephone were marred by some early sound problems but really came into their own later in the gig, breaking into a healthy variety of sounds.

The unreal vocal range of Marc Martins Pia brought an assault of screams and hollers, yet the bands progressive nature shone through with Focus-esque keyboard solos suddenly breaking out.  Fans were treated to a funny but amazing surprise near the end of the set with a prog metal rendition of the Star Wars theme.

Obituary began in raging form.  While lead singer John Tardy threw his curly locks around the stage, guitarist Ralph Santolla quenched the anticipated thirst of the crowd with some of his trademark shredding that’s been seen with other acts such as Deicide and Iced Earth.  His style of lead guitar playing remained outrageously fast, and with the intimacy of the venue it was half expected that he’d cut the front row.

Echoes of a more classic rock sound could be heard in some of the more bouncy riffs. The tightness of the set showed with carefully timed pauses in between grinding thuds from the rhythm guitar.  Obituary’s ability to transcend from this into a full bloodied hell-bent frenzy portrayed their professionalism.

Turning 42 in less than a week, Tardy showed that he still not only has the energy to rock the stage but also demonstrate a coming of age.  From the low droning grunts to the higher screeches, Tardy constantly entertained.

Threatening Skies had a heathen energy that quickly established it as a favourite amongst the fans while Face Your God was full of intensity.  Its renegade punk drumming and deep bass made the song stand out above a set that was slightly repetitive at times.

As a unit Obituary does exactly what it says on the tin.  They were entertaining and consistent in death metal music.  However, lack of variation shackles them, serving only to restrain much of their potential.  On the night they didn’t make a mistake and within their genre they are squeaky clean performers, but it is within certain limitations and to their detriment.

Calum Robson