Obituary singer John Tardy was a pioneer of the low-growl metal-vocal sound, but he sounds pretty normal over the phone. "I can't wait to see the fans in Miami," he says, referring to the Tampa band's first local gig in two years. Saturday's stop at Studio A is part of a tour that will eventually put the bandmates in Australia, Mexico, and Europe, all in support of their new album, Xecutioner's Return, which powered into stores August 28.

The big sound of the album comes thanks to its recording in the band's own studio. "It was great to have the freedom to go at our own pace," Tardy says happily. "We could finish whatever we were doing whenever we wanted." Another improvement on the new record is the addition of Ralph Santolla's lead guitar work, sounding alternately like Dimebag and Randy Rhoads. Aside from Santolla and on-again/off-again bassist Frank Watkins, it's the original lineup of the group, whose work has been gushed over by big shots such as Hank Williams III and Slipknot.


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