Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Six Feet Under - Undead

Six Feet Under are very well known for their deplorable catalog of releases from the early 90's up until just recently, having a body bag full of cardboard cutout full-lengths, EPs and three widely mocked cover albums; Graveyard Classics 2, anyone? Vocalist Chris Barnes has one of the most recognizable voices in death metal and was the early vocalist for Cannibal Corpse. However, due to his poor vocal performances on and off stage he was forced to leave the band. This also left Barnes largely mocked for his vocal talents, or lack thereof. Could Undead be the release that breaks the chain of shame surrounding Six Feet Under?

Genre: Death/Groove Metal, Death 'n' Roll
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: May 22nd, 2012

  1. Frozen at 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. The Scar
  10. Delayed Combustion Device
  11. Vampire Apocalypse
  12. The Depths of Depravity
Total Playtime: 40 minutes, 13 seconds

Official Website               


Rating: 7.5/10





Six Feet Under are very well known for their deplorable catalog of releases from the early 90's up until just recently, having a body bag full of cardboard cutout full-lengths, EPs and three widely mocked cover albums; Graveyard Classics 2, anyone? Vocalist Chris Barnes has one of the most recognizable voices in death metal and was the early vocalist for Cannibal Corpse. However, due to his poor vocal performances on and off stage he was forced to leave the band. This also left Barnes largely mocked for his vocal talents, or lack thereof. Could Undead be the release that breaks the chain of shame surrounding Six Feet Under?

One thing that is curious and needs to be pointed out is that Rob Arnold (ex-Chimera guitarist) stayed in Six Feet Under long enough to record the guitar and bass tracks for this album and then left. Whatever the reason, he did an extraordinary job. Bass heavy songs like "18 Days" and "Blood on My Hands" chug along smoothly with wild trilling guitars, almost sounding like something heard in brutal death metal but not quite as deep and heavy. Arnold isn't the sole credit for guitars, long-term member Steve Swanson also plays guitar on Undead; however there is no differentiation credit as to who is lead or rhythm.

Chris Barnes' vocals sound more energetic and powerful at first listen, but in a few songs his voice is heard wavering and weakening during extended notes. This can be heard clearly in the chorus section on "Blood on My Hands", which is one of the best tracks on the album aside from the struggling vocals. "Missing Victims" and "Delayed Combustion Device" are two other unforgettable tracks loaded with hooks, striking riffs, insane guitar solos and pounding bass that will drill and lodge itself deep inside of your cranium.


Of course, any Six Feet Under release isn't complete without its fair share of cheese. Song such as "Reckless" and "The Scar" scream egoism, but are fueled with crunchy groove beats that help make up for the lack of worthwhile lyrics. Lyrically, the rest of the album has a desolate, foggy graveyard feel. From track seven and onward ideas feel repeated, and one will find themselves hearing the words cemetery, kill, grave, victims and knife often.

The entire first half of the album is really strong and slowly runs into weak links. "Near Death Experience", and "Vampire Apocalypse" don't have much to offer that is stimulating and just come off recycled and out of place. "Molest Dead" is lyrically the most brutal track within this content, leaving the other songs around it feeling tame.

It only took until their twelfth full-length album, but Six Feet Under can finally remove their masks of shame with the release of Undead. The album is far from perfect by any means, but it does have decent mastering and a handful of unforgettable songs. The drums don't sound like they're made out of cardboard with pots and pans for added effect this time, and the overall intensity of their composure has amped up. Be not wary of this release.

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