Being a veteran band in the death metal scene, there are a lot of eyes who are watching on you to keep up what you once had to keep the power and qualities that everyone enjoyed back in the day. Now, 24 years since their inception, Six Feet Under are back with their twelfth studio record that aims to keep alive what they have been punching through over the past 2 decades.
The record seems to start off slowly, but aggressively with ‘Sacrificial Kill’ that invokes a lot more groove this time around, but once it gets into the vocals, that enjoyment starts to fade a little bit and feels a little bit lacklustre in terms of the instrumentation. There’s no denying that Chris Barnes’ vocals will have no doubt taken some hits over the past few years, but the producing of his signature style feels somewhat flat than it did even in the late 2000’s. Some of the words he produces feigns a weird wobble in the projecting of his voice that feel very unnerving and take away too much from the actual band. As you progress further, more examples of his vocal style kind of ruining the record flow and feel are in the track ‘The Separation Of Flesh From Bone’ which tends to feel somewhat cringeworthy as the rest of the band have to pick up the pace and try and salvage where the vocals are going wrong.
If you focus on the instrumentation as a whole, the record is actually a good example of how much death metal is progressing, albeit slowly. Whilst there are tracks that push that groove element forward a bit with ‘Knife Through The Skull’ and ‘Funeral Mask’ both using that to their advantage in areas, the enjoyment from this record tends to be from the band getting out of this comfort zone and bring a more technical and fast paced in its creation. The track ‘Schizomaniac’ is a great example of this as you see the band get to push themselves with the speed and feel like they’re utilising their instruments and gives you a chance to experience something that might feel new from the group. A personal highlight from the record is ‘In The Process Of Decomposing’ as it kind of goes on its own little trend and sounding somewhat positive in its guitar work, with the vocals unfortunately bringing it back down to earth.
You can’t knock the band for what they have produced throughout their entire career and you’re always going to hit some records that aren’t as good as previous material. Unfortunately, this is one of those times as the band create something that feels enjoyable, but cookie cutter at the same time. They’ve hit the nail on the head, but more times on their own thumbs.