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Six Feet Under: Undead

Well with Six Feet Under you know what you're going to get, right? More or less. Kevin Talley joins the lineup this time, and as per usual does absolutely fantastic at making the music pop as much as possible like the best metal drummers. Rob Arnold from Chimaira also joins Steve Swanson on the guitar and, according to Chris Barnes, was quite helpful in writing memorable riffs. I guess it would be a compliment to Rob to say I can't differentiate who wrote what but half the time the vocals are so high in the mix it barely matters. However, "Frozen in the Moment of Death" will probably be the biggest false advertisement of the year for being way better than anything following it. In the rest of the songs, when the band manages to find the right formula, they end the idea. "18 Days" takes its whole runtime to find something tasty but then they just revert to the boring refrain. "Near Death Experience" had a million avenues to take from that triplet riff, but just fades out. "The Depths of Depravity" actually has a (somewhat) clean guitar intro, even with a different feel than you'd expect, but just reverts to indistinguishable riffs. Would it kill them to write less homogenous death metal or is it just easier to retain the 90s sound two decades later?

Barnes says of Undead in the press release, "it's a rejuvenation, it's a rebirth of Six Feet Under, and fans will definitely latch on to my excitement and how focused I am in the lyrics I've written." Depending on whether or not you define rebirth as more of the same with a bit more effort, I guess he would be right, but seriously, the lyrics? Morbid lyrics aren't a philosophy, and putting weak-diaphragm, unvaried vocals higher in the mix doesn't change anything. I did manage to make it all the way through this record though, which is more than I can say for any other record by this group.

Track Listing
1. Frozen in the Moment of Death
2. Formaldehyde
3. 18 Days
4. Molest Dead
5. Blood on My Hands
6. Missing Victims
7. Reckless
8. Near Death Experience
9. Delayed Combustion Device
10. The Scar
11. Vampire Apocalypse
12. The Depths of Depravity

Added: September 19th 2012
Reviewer: Danny Heater
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2277
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Six Feet Under: Undead
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-09-19 08:31:49
My Score:

I've been a fan of death metal for quite some time now, but to this day I've never understood the appeal of Six Feet Under. They are one of a handful of bands who are guilty of pretty much releasing the same album over and over; in other words, if you have one Six Feet Under album, there's probably no reason to get another as they all sound somewhat the same. Their latest, Undead, again repeats a lot of the same themes and patterns as we've seen before from this group, though I will say the guitar team of Rob Arnold and Steve Swanson have come up with some very cool riffs on tunes like "18 Days" and "Formaldehyde" that are as heavy and tasty as anything you'll hear in the genre. My main criticism with this band from the beginning has always been the death grunts of Chris Barnes. Yes, he's considered a death metal legend by many, but the guy just adds nothing here, and his uninspired grunting (which is way too loud in the mix) just overshadows everything else. If he at least varied his attack a little I could excuse him for being so upfront here, but his vomitory delivery just screams "listen to me, I'm the shit" and it ruins all the good riffage and drum work that the band are cranking out behind him.

If you are a fan, you'll no doubt be all over this, but anyone who hasn't drank the kool-aid from this band previously won't be taking a sip anytime soon.

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