posted on 3/2009 By:
Bloodline is the debut album from John and Donald Tardy’s new side project, aptly named Tardy Brothers. John and Donald are of course the vocalist and drummer respectively of the legendary death metal band Obituary. Joining the brothers on this album are Ralph Santolla, current lead guitarist of Obituary and Jerry Tidwell, former guitarist for Executioner, the band that would eventually become Obituary. Thus I find it odd that John Tardy claims on the Tardy Brothers website that this new project “does not sound anything like Obituary, except maybe some of my vocals and DT's drumming!” In my opinion, John is one of the most unique, powerful and recognizable vocalists the death metal genre is ever likely to see and brother Donald’s drumming is just as unique and powerful in its own right. If these two played show tunes together, I am sure the result would come out sounding at least a little like Obituary. In choosing to play death metal with two other musicians who have served time in Obituary, I think it is safe to say that the Tardy Brothers have not strayed very far out of their musical comfort zone.
There are differences between Bloodline and an Obituary record, but they are subtle. The guitar tone is of suitable heft and chunk, but compared to Trevor Perez’s sinister scooped sound; it is a little lacking in character. The overall mood of the songs is also a bit lighter, certainly still quite heavy and aggressive but not dripping with Obituary’s utter contempt for life. John Tardy’s inimitable growl is in place, but he barks out most of the lyrics in a rather intelligible (for him) fashion. Donald’s drumming is as heavy handed as ever, but has more of a rock feel to it; sticking mostly to one bass drum and focusing even more on groove than he does in Obituary.
Most of the songs on Bloodline are fairly simple affairs, structured primarily around the repetition of two or three meaty riffs. The pacing is generally moderate, notable exceptions being “Deep” Down” and “Fates Call” which up the speed and intensity to a thrash metal level. These repetitive, uncluttered arrangements leave plenty of musical real estate open for guitar solos, and the brothers are not afraid to let Santolla and Tidwelll take the spotlight and shred with abandon. Bloodline is in fact riddled with solos. The opening track, for instance, crams five guitar solos into three-minutes and fifty two seconds. Much of the soloing is of the flashy, but not particularly memorable variety, but the boys employ some nice harmonies on the semi-instrumental shred fest “Scream Descendent” and closing stomper “Fade Away”.
As an Obituary fan, Bloodline is right up my alley and a fine platter of metal all around, but I can not help but feel slightly disappointed that the Tardy Brothers did not venture further afield for musical inspiration. However, Bloodline, according to the band's website, is supposed to be but the first of several recordings which will feature different musicians. Perhaps a different cast of accomplices will see the Tardy Brothers serving up something less familiar next time around. In the mean time Bloodline will tide me over nicely until the next Obituary release.
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