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Granted maybe I'm just spoiled by newer death metal bands like Necrophagist or Arsis - but I found Six Feet Under's latest offering, Commandment, quite unfulfilling. Everything is pretty damn simple and straightforward on this album and most everything is monotonous.
Granted I've never been a Six Feet Under fan but I am a death metal fan and I think I know decent death metal when I hear it and Commandment really just does't make the cut. I was having a very difficult time just getting into the groove of the album and by the end of the album I went and turned on Cannibal Corpse's latest effort.
Firstly, I found the music to be repetitive and pretty boring. There is a simple but catchy riff to start the album off and it was really catching my fancy but the riffs never really evolve out of that stage. I love groove oriented metal but I really felt bored with the material. The heavily distorted guitars can be fetching at times but overall its a very similar riff repeated over and over. The only thing that really changes is the tempo of the songs. That is there is some slower material and some slightly sped up material. As for solos and leads, don't be surprised when nothing shows up. From my count there are only a couple solos present on the album (one being very lackluster and the other one being pretty good) and the leads can hardly be found. Melody isn't something Six Feet Under was shooting for.
The bass and drums are also pretty straightforward. The groove is definately the main focus of the album so the drums and bass are just as important as the rest of the instruments. They do a great job supporting the motion of the album - but don't expect any stellar performances.
Chris Barnes' vocals will always be almost indistinguishable. His deep throated growl will always be something Six Feet Under fans can't get enough of. To me, the growls on the album are fine at first but after a few songs the vocal tracks begin to all sound the same. Had the lyrics and vocals had more of an aggressive edge (remember his Cannibal Corpse days?) then I felt they would have been better. But his vocals just seem to trudge along and when he does try to vary them up, the song Bled to Death, all that comes out is a crackly squeak.
Once again the lyrics are focused on death, killing, blood, and zombies (nothing new here) but the album is even lackluster in its scare tactics. Nothing really extreme anymore but it feels as though Six Feet Under have become their own tribute band. The lyrics are not very aggressive or at all that scary - I laughed at a few of them during my first listen.
Overall, I felt that with a band as popular as Six Feet Under is in the underground that they would be putting out some pretty intense albums. Commandment is simply slow and groovy and in the end wholely forgettable.
Songs to check out: Doomsday, The Edge of the Hatchet, The Evil Eye.