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To start, I can understand the low reviews for this album, as there are indeed many flaws. However, this being the first Six Feet Under album I ever heard and one of the first death metal albums I ever bought, it does have some positive aspects for me. I disagree that ALL of Six Feet Under's discography is total shit, which seems to be a common view on the metal archives. I happen to think that "Maximum Violence", "Haunted", and "Death Rituals" are very strong albums, however unfortunately, Six Feet Under have delivered a few terrible albums.
Onto "True Carnage". Lets start with the positive aspects of this album. Firstly, I personally really like the production of this album, ensuring that all the instruments are more or less heard and the guitars have a fairly strong and clear tone considering how low-tuned they are. The drums are fairly natural sounding. The bass drum has a good non-triggered sound, so there's not much to complain about here. Another major positive of this album is Chris Barnes' vocals. Unlike other Six Feet Under albums, I think his voice is very strong here and to me sounds similar to his vocals on Cannibal Corpse's "The Bleeding". One aspect of Chris' vocals that have been complained about on this album is his high-pitched screams. I love his use of these highs on this album. They sound strange and awful in one sense, but I find them fitting for the albums feel and morbid lyrical content. One example of Chris' high-pitched screams that I find effective are in the chorus of "Knife, Gun , Axe". These demonic screeches come from nowhere and make you sit up and pay attention. Anyway, to sum up I find Chris to be on good form vocally on this album.
To start with the good songs, I find "The Day The Dead Walked", "Cadaver Mutilator", and "Impulse to Disembowel" to be the best on offer here. "The Day The Dead Walked" is very catchy and builds up to a tremendous groove section around one minute in. Now I am not a poser that just listens to endless "groove" metal that is endlessly regurgitated on TV, I just happen to think that groove injected into metal can be very effective. "The Day The Dead Walked" is also a good example of Chris' use of demonic high-pitched screams. People can mock Chris Barnes as much as they like, but most of these people could never top his vocal abilities. Much like "The Day The Dead Walked", "Cadaver Mutilator" and "Impulse To Disembowel" are simply solid death metal tracks that utilize groovier tempos to great effect. "Impulse To Disembowel" is, however, much slower than most of the tracks on this album, but I see this as no bad thing. "Cadaver Mutilator" is the last of the "good" songs on this album. This track simply tears along, starting mid-tempo, then speeding up as it develops.
Now onto the less memorable sounds that can be found here. To be honest, there is not much to say about the remaining songs. These songs are just mostly forgettable death metal songs. Many songs just pass by without you really noticing what is going on. There are, however, a few songs that catch your ear. For example, "Snakes" starts well and uses some pretty catchy rhythms that are accented by the drums, but the song quickly fades into monotonous death metal plodding. Other than "Snakes", certain moments in "The Murderers" and "It Never Dies" standout, but similar to "Snakes", these songs are less memorable due to being too repetitive.
Now onto the weak tracks that can be found in this album. First culprit is the song "One Bullet Left". This song begins as a generic boring death metal song that plods along with no real direction, then out of nowhere some stupid rapper starts mouthing off about "blowing some motherfucker's motherfucking dome off". I cannot begin to put into words how stupid this track is. It would easily rank as one of the worst songs ever made in my book. I would describe further the guitar work and other instrumentation in this track, but the "I'm gonna fuck you in the ass with my big motherfuckin' bong, motherfucker" rapping completely destroyed this track for me. Onto the other "shit" song on this album, final song "Sick And Twisted". This song is an attempt at a male/female death metal duet. That last sentence should already justify why this song is shit, but for the sake of analysis, this song simply plods along at a slow pace with dreadful lyrics and guitar work. The female vocals are simply horrible.
Too round off this review, I do enjoy some tracks off this album and think that overall it is worth a listen. The negative aspects of this album can mostly be tolerated with the use of a skip button. I feel bad to give Chris' work such a critical review, but I still believe him to be one of the best death metal vocalists there ever has been. He deserves much respect for his time in Cannibal Corpse and for some of Six Feet Under's albums. Overall, not great, but worth buying if you see it in a bargain bin somewhere.
Standout tracks: "Impulse To Disembowel", "The Day The Dead Walks" , "Cadaver Mutilator" and "Snakes".
Chris Barnes' Six Feet Under is like a diseased cur that refuses to be put down. Its bark and bite are equally weak, but for some sanity defying reason, Metal Blade records would continue to support this stray mutt's crusade to rain distaste down among the distasteful. At best, the quartet have the ability to create mediocre, tired tropes of groove-laden death metal, and at worst, they are an abomination so heinous that only the veterinarians at the pound dare examine them closely. True Carnage is the band's fourth original studio album, and the worst today, making its predecessor Maximum Violence seem like a glittering jewel by comparison. Fuck, even the first Graveyard Classics collection gives it a run for its money...
The most that could be said for the first 3-4 tracks is that they are simply pedestrian, with zero value whatsoever when held against nearly anything else in the field of death metal. "Impulse to Disembowel", which opens the album, is a treacherously boring groove/slog with a generic fast break and a taste of Barnes most awkward contrast in grunting and snarling to date. "The Day the Dead Walked" at least tries to create a proper old school death atmosphere, with a nice fast pace joined to its thick bass, but the riffs are flat and uninspired, and would never have made the cut for The Bleeding. We're only getting started though, because the depths of this album take a turn south from even this material! "One Bullet Left" is a gangsta death metal song with Ice T guesting on vocals, and fucking pathetic. What's hilarious is that the Original Gangsta takes a punch at critics in his flow, as if this were going to somehow shield this sad band from their due in negative reaction. Ice T can do much better than this, hell even Body Count was better than this, and once Barnes rejoins the proceeding with his grunts it becomes more than awkward...
'For some reason you motherfuckers think this is some kind of motherfuckin game
You ain't gonna realize until I got some fucking steel pointed at your faggot-ass face
And blow your motherfuckin dome off your goddamn shoulders
You motherfuckin critic-ass bitch motherfuckers, catch you comin out your motherfuckin house
But hell, I could just wallow in the irony and be amused. I might say the same for "Snakes", in which Barnes grunts the title over a bouncy groove metal chugging sequence numerous times. It's goddamn ridiculous, but almost comic in a base way, at least when you take a step back and stop using your brain to process thoughts. Unfortunately the music in this song sucks, like a slam pit hymn from Disturbed with bouncy, jump da fuc up rhythms. "Knife, Gun, Axe" is another hideous bouncer with a few Prong-like rhythms circa Beg to Differ. Barnes' primary gutturals here get good and low, almost like a Will Rahmer (Mortician), but then he ruins them with these machine gun snarls that sound like a bad joke, like Salacious Crumb providing commentary while Jabba the Hut is being strangled by his captive Princess Leia. Then we've got "Sick and Twisted", on which another guest appearance is manifest through Karyn Crisis. Now, I've seen her main band a number of times, and she's a pretty eclectic personality, but hearing her wig out alongside Barnes' bludgeoning voice is a headache I do not wish to repeat.
The only 'carnage' this album produces is in the removal of its listeners' gray matter, leaving the mush to soak in a toilet bowl. Was Chris just getting stoned and trying to fill out a contract? To remain productive without any semblance of a good idea? Surely the guy has written better in the past, but this is easily one of the worst offerings from Six Feet Under, and one of the worst Florida death metal exports in history. Its production is muffled and uninspired, it has an anomalous ability to produce not even one good guitar riff throughout 34+ minutes of material, and it seems almost entirely phoned in, as if the accumulation of 'guest spots' would somehow compensate for its myriad faults. There might be a giggle or two here for those who revel in the dumpster of death. Otherwise, avoid at all costs
If you're a metalhead, chances are you probably hate Six Feet Under. I hate them too, don't worry, but I'm actually somewhat impressed by this album! Or at least I was, for about 10 minutes.
Chris Barnes really hammers the fuck out of these tracks, for once. His deep growls sound like he just came out of the studio for "Tomb of the Mutilated", which is a definate good thing as his vocals were pretty good there. One complaint however, is that his high vocals are way too screechy and sound like shit. The human voice was not meant to go that high, sorry Chris.
The guitar riffs are far more death metal sounding than any of their other albums that I've heard. That's not to say they are good sounding, and the traces of Nu-metal which dominate the putrid "Bringer of Blood" album are beginning to take hold (although they may have been in one of the albums between this and "Warpath", I'm not sure). Nice work on the tone too.
The bass guitar is largly inaudible, and fuck dude, it's tone is HORRIBLE. I cannot stress how annoying it is to listen to "BMMMMMMMMMMMM BMMMMMMM BRROWWWWW BRRRRMMMMMMM", regardless of how long it appears. There is way to much bass in the frequencies, thus making it inaudible, but it does help the production and make it more brutal.
The drumming is just as boring as you would expect from Greg Gall. All he ever does is do the standard rock beat and every now and then, do a blast beat. He's honestly a completly pointless drummer, and he adds nothing to this band's sound. His drumming makes Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) look like Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), if you catch my drift.
The songs themselves are of far higher quality than I originally expected. The track "The Day the Dead Walked" and the track "Waiting For Decay" are both very good tracks, and "Impulse to Disembowel" isn't too shabby either. However, the putrid "One Bullet Left" takes away any real hope of this album getting an actually "positive" review, as I originally planned, mostly due to the use of *gulp* rapping vocals....
....What a horrible idea. And of all rappers to choose, why Ice-T? He sounds like a 15 year old Fred Durst rapping about how much he wants to kill anyone who criticizes Limp Bizkit. I honestly can't think of an idea that could be worse than putting a rapper in a death metal song (although I do like it when Necro did it on "The Prefix For Death", but I digress). The rest of the song mostly just Ice-T shouting random shit. I guess I can be glad they got a real rapper to do it though instead of Chris himself.
After that sad excuse for a song, ANOTHER terrible song appears, called "Knife Gun Axe", this time without any rapping vocals (thank god), but the pace is very slow and the song is boring as fuck. It's the kind of song that would have been on the album "Warpath". Now we have a nu-metal like track that focuses soley on Chris randomly growling "SNAKES!!!" (the title of the song, obviously). There are only two parts of the song. One that is a breakdown, and another where Chris growls random things a snake would do. Then we have the song "Sick and Twisted", which contains some random girl, who backs Chris's now unbearable vocals with random black metal shreiks. After that piece of shit, "Cadaver Mutilator" appears. FINALLY another death metal song!!! It reminds me alot of Cannibal Corpse on "Butchered at Birth". The closing track is "Necrosociety". It sounds like all the other songs in a nutshell, nothing special.
In conclusion, it is not suggested that you buy this album. If you really like SFU, it'd be the album I'd choose, but expect the worst, or in this case, the best SFU can do.
Ok, I understand that this album is poorly received among most of the viewers of this website, as well as the rest of Six Feet Under’s albums. I also understand that the band had completely disintegrated into a pile of sludgy cannabis coated nonsense a couple albums back. And yes, this album does have a song with Ice Cube (or Ice T, who cares anyway) rapping about shooting his gat off and busting down the door to your crib and all that stupid bullshit. I know those are all perfect reasons to hate this album, and why shouldn’t they be. However, this is one of the first metal albums I ever owned. When I was not but 16 years old, I traded one of my mall core Cds for this. I was fascinated by everything I found therein. The music was almost as gruesome as the album cover, and I absolutely loved it. Fortunately (or unfortunately, for this album), my maturity and tastes have evolved in the past 5 years, and I can look at this album with a more experience eye.
The music on True Carnage is basically pure sludge. The guitars are tuned down by three and a half steps, down to a low A. This, combined with the amps with the gain turned up to 11 and drum heads so loose that they sound wet and sloppy, makes the music sound sickeningly sludgy. Slow, sluggish song structures only help to intensify the impotency of the beast. A few descent doomy riffs aside, the guitar work is 100% half-assed at best, and never during the whole album does the drum work impress. I guess it would be appropriate to mention the fact that the bass is almost completely inaudible in the mix due to the fact that it is tuned down so far, but since it doesn’t ever try to do anything anyway it doesn’t really matter.
On top of all that, Chris Barnes, whose vocal chords have been mangled by years of chronic marijuana abuse, vomits out his clichéd vocal lines and patterns with so little conviction he might as well be farting into a microphone. Purely useless. The ‘duet’ song with Karen Crisis isn’t much better. I have never been a fan of female singers growling or screaming, and Karen is no exception. Up until 2007, I didn’t even know it was a woman, and now that I do, I wish I still thought she was a man. A walking waste of vagina in my opinion, but that is a completely differently matter.
But the crowning moment of failure on True Carnage is the indefinably bad song “One Bullet Left.” While I am no hater rap ‘just because’, I still cannot understand why anyone would try to mix it in with a genre as juxtaposed to it as death metal (although I use that term lightly for this album.) Ice Cube’s solo rap begins about half way through the song, and, judging by the lyrical content, he apparently hates women, children, and any kind of authority that would dare stop his rampage of violence. Ok, perhaps he is exactly the same as every other rapper out there, and maybe I’m over analyzing it. But who cares. It still sucks.
So, looking back on it, should I of kept the mall core album instead of trading for this? Absolutely not. This album left a mark on my life that changed it for the better. But if you’re already listening to metal, please avoid this pile of shit at all costs, even if it means you have to listen to crappy modern death metal instead.