Every genre needs its AC/DC, its Ramones, its Slayer... bands whose refusal to evolve becomes an art unto itself. In death metal, though, not evolving hardly makes you exceptional. So there's got to be more to Obituary's enduring appeal than the band's staunch mission to stick close to what it knows how to do well. Masters of walking the fine line between repetition and stagnation, Obituary still show an intangible spark that few death metal acts have managed to touch, let alone sustain. Their pre-eminence among death metal's first-wave Tampa elite would hardly constitute a reason alone to see them now, but their spirited playing still rises above the din of an exhausted genre. The band's white-trash ghoulishness has its charms, and vocalist John Tardy's unintelligible grown remains one of the most distinctive in the history of the genre. With Goatwhore, Krisiun, the Bezerker, Warbringer, Gravenloch. All ages.
Sat., Sept. 12, 7 p.m., 2009