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Chris Barnes released something good? - 80%

ScreamBloodyDeath, November 12th, 2008

I should probably start by saying that I was a huge fan of Chris' work with Cannibal Corpse. I like Corpsegrinder fine but there's just a certain rawness to the Chris albums that gets my head banging like no other. However, I've never really had anything that good to say about Six Feet Under. My big problem was that the music never really seemed to fit in with Barnes' vocals. It sounded like he was singing one song and the band was playing another.

This fortunately has been remedied for the most part on Death Rituals. I can't believe I'm writing this but this is actually listenable, I expected another boring sludge fest! The songs are much more varied, Death by Machete actually gets moving and has Chris singing faster than he has in almost a decade.

Another thing that has improved considerably since past releases is the guitar solos. They're better thought out and much more interesting, Seed of Filth in particular has a really memorable solo. I actually even looked in the liner notes thinking it was a guest guitarist.

One thing that has to be addressed is Barnes‘ voice. While his grunting is probably the most patterned and in sync with the music it's been since The Bleeding or Haunted, his voice is starting to show it‘s age. It's not horrible but his "highs" sound really strained but I guess it's to be expected considering how much he smokes and how long he's been doing this.

It feels like Barnes and company actually spent some time on this and it's a total 180 from the dire filler that was Commandment. I could've done without the Mötley Crüe cover and it still feels a little bit monotonous if you listen to it all the way through in one sitting but unlike other SFU albums you might actually remember a few of the better songs.

If you completely despise Barnes (Anal Cunt fans etc.) there's nothing here that will change your opinion of him. However for someone like me, this album does it’s job. It’s hands down the best album Barnes has been a part of in a long while and for veteran sickos that alone is worth admission.