Hot off the Press

Six Feet Under | Undead

by Trevor Portz
Staff Writer —

First off, let it be said that Six Feet Under’s Haunted is an absolute death metal classic. Along with its follow-up, Warpath, Chris Barnes and company carved a niche as the best of the groove-oriented death bands. Subsequent releases, while entertaining, though not mind blowing, only served to elevate the band’s popularity. Well, after playing the groove card for so many years, it would appear Chris decided to return to his roots. Undead, featuring a new line-up, is not only a throwback to Chris’ Cannibal Corpse days, but is easily the best thing the band has produced since those early g[l]ory days.

From the opening notes of “Frozen at the Moment of Death,” what’s instantly noticeable to long-time followers of the band is that the SFU you’ve grown to know and love is long gone. Grooves are replaced by blast beats, and slow moving power-chord progressions take a backseat to trem-picked, pinch-harmonic laden brutality.

Barnes’ vocals don’t quite hit the sub-bass guttural depths of Tomb of the Mutilated, but haven’t lost any punch over the years. Plus, he tends to avoid the often ear-piercing higher screams he’s employed at times throughout his career. The lyrics are typical Barnes fare, and are as ridiculously twisted as ever. They tend to stay away from the political leanings of past offering such as “Amerika the Brutal,” but come on, would you really want anything else?

As a side-note, as Chris’ projects will never quite shake comparisons to the band he helped bring to the forefront of death metal, it should be noted that this album far outdoes the lackluster Torture album released by Cannibal Corpse earlier this year. Whereas that album seemed recycled and uninspired, this album comes across as interesting and fresh.

While the style change may be hard to accept for more groove-oriented fans of the band, it is a welcome change to a band with a very storied career. Perhaps for the next release, they’ll blend the mid-paced brilliance of Haunted with the complexity of Undead. That would be a combination to truly wake the dead.

Genre: Death Metal

Chris Barnes (v)
Steve Swanson (g)
Rob Arnold (g,b)
Kevin Talley (d)

Track Listing:
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

Label: Metal Blade Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10