Death metal brothers unleash a side project that’s comfortably familiar
I think that when two key members of a band, do a side project, then it’s almost inevitable that it will sound like their bread and butter project. In the case of brothers John and Donald Tardy (vocals and drums respectively), these founders of death metal pioneers Obituary have managed to get everything in order to record the first ever Tardy Brothers album. Their bio mentions two key things. One, this project ‘It is not going to affect anything that Obituary is doing’, which I think will hold true, and two, ‘nor is it supposed to sound like Obituary’. Well… it’s not supposed to sound like Obituary, but really, who are they kidding? Of course it’s going to have a pretty damned close resemblance in some ways.
Right from the opening seconds of Bring You Down, you’d swear you’re listening to mid ‘90’s Obituary. From the guitar tone to (obviously) the vocals and even drumming patterns, there’s no escaping that the connection is as strong as you’d expect regardless of what the bio says. But this isn’t your typical Obituary – again, as you’d expect – as the brothers Tardy have enlisted friends old and new to be a part of things. To be fair, things are a little more mid tempo than the bipolar extremes of Obituary’s slow, blood curdling doom and fast and furious death metal and the title track, with super melodic lead breaks is testament to that. The stomping rhythmic patterns of I’m Alive remind me of the stop start nature of Chopped In Half (from Obituary’s 1990 classic Cause Of Death). Having said that, it’s not quite as heavy, but hey, what is?
Deep Down could easily sit anywhere along side the faster Obituary material before the first real surprise appears in the form of the sub three minute instrumental piece Wired. It’s all the things you should expect from a side project in that it’s very different to the regular band’s output – acoustic guitars and gentle, flowing lead work. But it’s back down to business with the driving Fate’s Call whilst Eternal Lies really does show a more rock oriented side to the duo as does the melodic guitar solo lead instrumental Scream Descendant. If the album has a week point though, sadly it’s the final track, Fade Away, which just seems unexciting at times as it plods along.
Bloodline, which features guests and friends of the duo including current Obituary guitarist Ralph Santolla, original Executioner guitarist Jerry Tidwell, long time friend Scott Johnson and 19 year old John Lee, isn’t as devastatingly heavy as an Obituary album. But by the same token, it’s fair to say that if you were expecting or hoping for something radically different, you will be disappointed. But I don’t think anyone should be feeling that way. Although Bloodline is still very Obituary like in many ways – which isn’t a bad thing if you’re a diehard fan – there’s enough differences here for Bloodline to stand on it’s own. The links are obvious but regardless, Bloodline is a solid death metal album from start to finish.
(Candlelight Records/Modern Invasion Music)