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Six Feet Under used to be great fun. Honestly, Haunted, Warpath, Maximum Violence and Bringer of Blood were all no frills death metal and a lot of fun to listen to. For whatever reason, I lost touch with the band after 2003s Bringer album and it’s only now that I’ve got back to the band with this year’s Death Rituals.
The news is not good for fans of the band and for fans of Barnes. This is the worst death metal album I’ve heard all year and here’s why. At the most basic level, Six Feet Under has finally achieved the tag of being the AC/DC of death metal. Every song on this album is something you’ve already heard before from the band on their prior albums. However, unlike their heroes, what Six Feet Under does is a substandard rehash. The bulk of the material sounds like songs from Maximum Violence and Warpath.
Eulogy for the Damned is a case in point with the riff and vocal line during the verse sounding pretty much exactly like War is Coming (from Warpath) before going off into a Maximum Violence inspired mid section. I would have picked out a couple of songs for special mention but honestly there’s nothing on Death Rituals that qualifies. There is however, a cover of Motley Crue’s Bastard (from their Shout at the Devil album) which does a decent job of death n roll and is the album highlight.
The other thing that really gets me about the album is Barnes’s vocal performance. Maybe the man was too high to care or simply believes his fans will eat up anything he dishes out but this has to be his worst vocal performance ever. He is one dimensional, there’s absolutely no passion and his growls just sound really weak. The musicianship on a Six Feet Under album has never been of a particularly high standard and what has made them work in the past is kickass, simple grooves that stick in your mind. That element is missing on this album with every single groove sounding like a cheap knock off.
Overall, this is the lowest point of the band’s career and you know your album’s going to stink when the best song on it is a Motley Crue cover.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com