on 11 September 2003
Along with Morbid Angel's classic 'Blessed Are The Sick', this rates as the best death metal albums to come out of the infamous Morrisound studios in Florida. Scott Burns' production values are all over this sick beast, from the sludgy guitar sound to the crisp drums, impeccable mix and unearthly vocals, this album sits as an out and out metal classic, not just a death metal one.
Obituary actually have very few ultra-fast riffs, most of them plod along at a reasonably pedestrian pace. What makes them so outstanding is the discordancy. Only Morbid Angel manage to make riffs that sound so unsettling. Obituary utilise tempo changes to full effect - the slow, sludgy riffs often lull you into a false sense of security before bouncing into a faster part. Also, the double bass drum is used to full effect, often heralding the arrival of a 'groovy' part of the song.
Yes, you heard right, Obituary have managed to inject an element of groove intoa death metal album. This is no mean feat when you consider that the raison d'etre of most death metal bands in the early nineties was apparently the complete elimination of all melody, structure and tempo.
The three opening cuts (no pun intended) here 'Infected', 'Bodybag' and the equally charmingly monickered 'Chopped In Half' are probably the best on show. Both contain oodles of menace, with the solos of death metal supremo James Murphy in particular standing out. Murphy was in a whole host of bands in the early to mid-nineties, and his studied, harmonic approach to soloing made almost all the albums he played on stand out from the crowd.
Roadrunner re-released this in 2000, and the benefits of a remaster are plain to see - its much louder and beefier sounding. Amazingly, the remaster makes John Tardy's vocals sound even more insane. I'm not sure what effects were used on them, but I bet he had a permanent sore throat whilst recording!
Up there with the best death metal records ever, make sure you hear this if you haven't already.
on 13 December 2013
I am 42 years old and please do not read this as in any way apologetic. If I am honest I am in the midst of a full blown mid-life "crisis". Let me tell you a story, if you have the time, about why this fantastic album is, for me, not just the best heavy metal album ever made but the best album EVER. When I was a youth me n the lads were complete metal heads. Life got in the way of my metal purity as it tends to do. I look back with pride at my metal roots. We were total metal. I was into everything from Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Blue Oyster Cult(Imaginos is a superb album), Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac (yes I like girls and lots of girls) to Napalm Death(remember I did not have the benefit of metal hindsight, I was into this when it happened) and Carcass(Symphonies of Sickness for Gods sake, why is Mr Bill Steer not invited onto Big Brother or Get Me Out Of Here???) with Metallica (Ride the Lightning was the first album I bought with my own money and it changed my life), Anthrax (first gig I went to was on their awesome Among the Living tour) Slayer and Megadeth as important to me as Iron Maiden and Motorhead and the rest. I have seen Hawkwind 14 times to date and consider them to be my favourite band.
The best gig I have ever been to was in 1990 to Obituary on the tour for this album. I have seen many bands of many different styles. Festivals, raves (I absolutely love the Prodigy and Banco de Gaia and again make no apologies) and have tried wholeheartedly to expand my musical experience. But this album and the gig at Bradfords Queens Hall in 1990 was and is the best ever. Ever. EVER. The sheer heaviness. The fun. The quality of the moment. The unrelenting brutality and quality of the metal musicianship. The unpretentious and sheer unapolagetic metal bollox of the highest quality. The best ever.
Opinions. Like nipples, everyones' got them. If you dont buy this album you are not metal. Thats my opinion. Its not just about the album its also about the live experience. Thats metal. Thats music. And this is it. If you dont agree thats fine. Everyone has the right to be wrong and if anyone is more wrong than me then God bless you. This is the best heavy metal album ever made by a band who captured the moment at the right time in the right way better than anyone ever. Well done. And it still blasts today. Play loud.
on 28 June 2006
When you think death metal, you think growling. You think down tuned, yet precisily played guitars, just about audiable bass, and the ever present click and hum of kick/bass drums. Obituary's second album had all of this, and a good 10 years before the rebirth of death metal shoved all of the above into your face and said try this on for size.
Cause of Death made every magazine frenzied with anticipation. Phil Alexander himself says in the liner notes that he couldn't wait to hear the Obies second offering, as their first, Slowly we Rot, was an eye opener in the realms of extreme metal.
Between 1990 and 93 I don't really remember listening to much other than Entombed's Clandestine, Carcass' Necroticism, Morbid Angel's Covenant and Obies Cause of Death. I know I did, but the other stuff just kind of fades intothe back ground when I think back to my early teens.
It was right up there, for me, in the creme de la creme of death metal releases. And it still is.
Obituary never played "fast" metal, unlike Carcass or Sepultura, they spent their time scraping your ears with chugging mid paced riffs, that occasionally picked up the tempo, but still retained that essential heaviness. Opener 'Infected' starts with some weird sound effects, then lets you have it both barrels with John Tardy's legendary vocal assault. The man has the most barbaric voice the death metal world has ever heard. Its not the deepest, Like the Lord Worms, or Karl Sanders of this world, but it is the most angry, throaty, nasty thing to come out of a mans mouth without contracting Ebola first.
Every track on this album contain the classic Obituary sound of Tardy vocals, lazy galloping riffs, and Donald Tardy's mid-paced drumming with the awesome irregular pedal bashing he so well uses on all their albums.
James Murphy's solos are excellent, although a little repetitive, and show a man who was on top of his game, and so hugely popular that he had, or would be the lead man for other acts such as Death and Cancer.
Cause of Death can't be over looked. If its not in your collection, and you really want to be able to say you have all the "great" albums this genre has ever seen, this needs to be in there. Without this album, and some other shining examples from the same period, there would be no Nile, no Cryptopsy, none of the super technical, blasters, none of them. We would all still be sporting fringes and listening to Exodus and Anthrax. Or listening to all out grindcore circa 1988.
A great album in the true sense of the word. Buy it !!!
on 27 May 2002
Cause of Death made headlines when it first appeared on the scene. It was fresh, clean and at the same time horribly nasty and brutal.
The whole prouction of the album, with the wailing James Murphy solos, and the layered vocals of Tardy, just help to create something that at the time no one else had done.
The sound itself is not overly complicated, and I find personally that that is the reason I love it. Simple, yet effective.
For me, the timing and tempo changes are the key elements to this album. Many bands since have taken death metal beyond light speed, but only a few (and they also hail from the early 90's) have done it with any class. Obituary don't take the 'fast is brutal' approach, more the 'brutal is brutal' line.
Its also nice to see song titles that you could be forgiven for laughing at, played down in the lyrics, basically coz there isn't any !!! Tardy just rants and raves and bellows and growls, and unlike Chris Barnes' similar efforts in Cannibal Corpse (who were not even in the same league as Obituary) actually manages to make the record so much better. And live, any track off this album is just savage !!
I saw them live twice in '96, and it was the songs off this album that blew the crowd away the most !!!
A record of sheer class, brutallity and originality, with silly song titles to keep the average death fan happy, yet lyrics that can't be taken in any particular vein, be it polical, offensive or whatever...perfect.
BUY IT, BUY IT NOW....
on 27 September 2013
I don't like death metal when its all speed and brutality and no substance or atmosphere. And I like a bit of doom metal but sometimes I wish it was mixed with some fast sections. It's no wonder then that I love Obituary's Cause of Death.
This album is chock full of atmosphere - all those weird and moody sound effects inbetween the tracks really make the album seem special. And the music is awesome! I love a really thick guitar sound to extreme metal and Obituary's guitars have always sounded sludgy and growling. The vocals also seem deep and guttural, from the very grave itself. Obituary may seem to have been outdone by the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Immolation and the whole new York 'brutal' scene in that regard but there still seems to be something genuinely special about John Tardy's vocal deliverance, even after all these years.
And its not simply full speed ahead either. The speed and brutality of the fast sections is emphasised by the glorious immensity of the slow sections. And vice versa, the effect of those slow sections is increased by the intensity of the fast bits. This is right, this is perfect, this is how it should always be done. And I'm sure it's not just because of my age that I'm saying this. Doom and Death should always be united in this fashion. Fast and slow is always more effective when accompanied by its opposite, especially if you don't compromise the intensity and heaviness of either.
Obituary understood that, which is why this album is great. This (along with Death's Leprosy) is the album that introduced me to death metal, and I've held it up as a high standard of what death metal is and should be ever since. A true classic!
on 18 November 1999
This album made me realise that someone CAN make a more slick and outstanding guitar sound than Metallica on 'Justice for All'. If 'Justice...' sound was like a scalpel, then this album was a laser beam! No band until Fear Factory's 'Soul of a new Machine' did better at making an awesome cacophony. Add James Murphy's possibly best performance and you get one of the 20 most important extreme metal albums ever, and certainly one of the top 10 of the Nineties.
Obituary’s debut album ‘Slowly We Rot’ was a fantastic record, but amazingly the band managed to top it with second album ‘Cause Of Death’, and in doing so created one of - if not actually THE - best death metal albums ever made. While it follows closely the template of the first album everything is slightly improved on this 2nd album: there’s a better production from Scott Burns, with what to this day is one of the thickest and heaviest down-tuned guitar tones ever recorded; superior guitar solos from new lead guitarist James Murphy; even more neck-snapping riffs; even the artwork is better! While it has bursts of speed ‘Cause of Death’ really succeeds in just being the sheer HEAVIEST death metal album ever recorded, with plenty of slow and groovy riffs peppering the album, while the way each track bleeds into the next helps give the album a real unified feel – even the cover version of ‘Circle Of the Tyrants’ doesn’t seem out of place.
Obituary would make some good records after this, but they would never again reach the pinnacles of this phenomenal album. A bona fide death metal classic.
on 14 April 2014
THIS ALBUM IS A REAL CLASSIC IN THE METAL MUSIC, JUST SUPERB OBITUARY'S BEST THIS EDITION COMES WITH BONUS TRACKS
on 29 October 2015
Definitely awesome... I think this is the best Obituary Album...
on 14 November 2014
One of my favorite albums, with some of my favorite songs.