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Six Feet Under has released this album! Okay, so it's not quite that great.
Six Feet Under is pretty much the band that introduced me to death metal, and their last two albums (not counting the Graveyard Crappics) are what introduce me to Six Feet Under. This album falls right in between Bringer of Blood and 13 in terms of quality, technical skill, and enjoyability. The whole album pretty much relies on groove-laden riffs, much more so than 13.
There is hardly a lead guitar, as the entire album is riff, rhythm, repeat for the most part. The song structures are nothing original, and the overall feel of the album seems to try to honor their older works in a bit, and it accomplishes some of that. The solos are short and sweet, and the 5 songs that are fitted with them stand out more from the others. As for the bass, I can't say anything about it. Some songs, I can somewhat pick it out, but for the most part it's muted and just acts as something to enhance the drumming. In that regard, it works pretty well, but there is nothing else outstanding.
The drumming is average doublebass-laden drumming, not even nearly as good as their older stuff. Still, it doesn't fail at providing the backbone to the songs, which is one of the downfalls of Bringer of Blood. The bass drum seems to be almost as muted as the bass guitar, although that gives the songs a deeper, thicker, groovier sound.
The vocals are almost devoid of those high bitched mosquito squeaks Chris Barnes was known for. It's a sign of his age, as when I saw Six Feet Under live back in September, he could not squeak out those high pitched shrieks at all. They sounded like whispers. Throughout the album, I think I heard two of those shrieks. The rest of his vocals are monotonous, but still quite vicious and deep. Without those shrieks, the album is just that much better. The lyrics are fairly decent, about the same level as 13, however still don't quite achieve the level of gore and viciousness as Chris Barnes' Cannibal Corpse era. Maybe all of that weed mellowed him out so much that the most brutal thing he can think of is an executioner who is ALSO a zombie!
The songs themselves aren't anything special, however they are catchy and while repetitive, they are still quite short with none of them nearing four minutes in length. Some tracks, especially The Evil Eye and The Edge of the Hatchet are downright boring. The Edge of the Hatchet seems to be one song with one repeated chorus that tries and fails miserably at being catchy and fun. Others, such as Doomsday, Zombie Executioner, Resurrection of the Rotten are headbangers in their own right, although Doomsday had me worried for a minute with its repetative breakdowns. Fortunately, those pseudobreakdowns were limited to just that one song.
Overall, this is not quite death metal, but it gets closer than Bringer of Blood did. I think it's not quite as good as it could've been, but I'm not disappointed. It gets monotonous at times, and I highly recommend skipping tracks 4 and 8. Six Feet Under fans will still enjoy this. The best songs on the album are the last two, In A Vacant Grave starts off with a wicked sweet solo, and continues with catchy riffs and vocals at blazing speed. Ghost of the Undead has one of the more interesting solos that I've heard, it's not fast and shreddy like, but it just sounds different from many of the guitar solos that I hear every day. This deserves a 76.66 rounded up.