The return of Obituary in 2005 came as a surprise, for the band hadn't been active since the mid-'90s. They sort of petered out after World Demise in 1994, releasing the ho-hum Back from the Dead in 1997 and then calling it a day as the bandmembers busied themselves elsewhere, most visibly as guitarist Allen West enjoyed a lot of success in Six Feet Under. Obituary's reunion album, Frozen in Time, wasn't only a surprise because of the long absence, though. It also came as a surprise because it's so darn good, up there with the best the band ever recorded, even in their heyday. Clocking in at a brisk ten songs in 35 minutes, Frozen in Time is a perfect Obituary album -- almost so perfect it invites such criticisms as "more of the same." But more of the same is perfectly fine when it's done this well, especially for longtime fans nostalgic for the good ol' days of death metal. Obituary never were a band to push the boundaries, after all -- avant-garde death metal they were not. Then again, there was a day when they were cutting-edge, that is, way back in 1989 when they debuted with Slowly We Rot, a trailblazing statement for its time and one that inspired a legion, if not legions, of followers. In subsequent years Obituary kept doing what they do well, even as they became increasingly passé with time. Yet passé or not, they do what they do especially well on Frozen in Time. The pummeling guitar tandem of West and Trevor Peres shines brilliantly, each of them co-penning half the album respectively. Vocalist John Tardy sounds as wicked as he did back in the day, his trademark growl still intact despite the years of wear and tear. And the rhythm section sounds perfectly integrated, partly thanks to Mark Prator's first-rate production (and that trademark Morrisound mixing courtesy of the maestro himself, Scott Burns). There's really no need to go on about the details of how the band sounds here, though -- it sounds like Obituary, plain and simple. What's important to know is that the guys really seem into it here, writing killer songs, benefiting from the best production out there, and playing their asses off ("On the Floor," "Back Inside," "Mindset," and "Lockjaw" are all highlights). If it sounds like "more of the same," that's the point. After one album in a decade, it's a blessing to have Obituary back together and sounding this stellar. If you're a fan -- new or old -- you'll absolutely love Frozen in Time. It's as good if not better than any of the band's other albums. It's so good, in fact, the title could well refer to the sound of the band: sounding as if death metal were still as vibrant and exciting as it was back in the early to mid-'90s when Obituary were the shiznit and a thousand and one young Scandinavians were taking notes by candlelight.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier