Gig Reviews

Obituary ate Tokyo alive

Proper old-school Florida death metal served up by Obituary. The band ate Tokyo alive.

Obituary, The Convalescence and Karras at Studio Odd, Daikanyama, Tokyo, Japan on 23rd January 2024

Some days I wake up and think: I want me some old-school Florida death metal for dinner. Lucky me, with Obituary in town, I got a masterclass in how to cook this Floridian dish.

Parisian death metal power trio Karras kicked things off with an intense set. Karras operates with a classic trio set-up – a guitarist, a drummer and a bassist/vocalist – and they delivered a terrific half-hour of punky French death metal. A great band with great songs. An excellent way to start a death metal evening. Next up was The Convalescence, an unruly bunch of death metal bastards from Ohio all dolled up in corpse paint. Their set was a great transition into the main act. The band’s music has a foundation in death metal, although it has a more modern feel to it and lives mainly in the deathcore corner of extreme metal.

Following two great opening acts, it was time for Obituary, the masters of old-school Florida death metal. Obituary was one of the pioneering bands that together with Death and Morbid Angel helped shape death metal in the 1980s.

Vocalist John Tardy, his drummer brother Donald Tardy and guitarist Trevor Peres started this journey together some 40 years ago. Other band members have come and gone over the years. In the current line-up, the co-founders are joined by lead guitarist Ken Andrews and bassist Terry Butler (death metal royalty in his own right with pedigree from Death, Massacre and Six Feet Under). It is a fabulous line-up.

The band opened its headline set with the instrumental piece “Redneck Stomp” before John Tardy entered the stage to sing “Sentence Day”. John’s characteristic growling vocals, together with the music’s groove, have always set Obituary apart from the pack. That the band remains relevant and can still create new music was evident when they performed several songs from their latest album, 2023’s “Dying of Everything”, including “The Wrong Time”, “Barely Alive”, “My Will to Live” and “War”. Performing for an enthusiastic Tokyo crowd, the band members seemed to enjoy themselves. The energy on stage and among the audience members was explosive. The band was treated to a show of crowd surfing, stage diving, headbanging and more by its Japanese fans. Obituary delivered a near-perfect set with tunes from throughout the band’s career. “Visions in My Head” and “Find the Arise” were among the highlights of a sweaty, high-energy set which was rounded off with the fabulous “Slowly We Rot”, the title track from the band’s debut album.