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More meandering, neanderthal mosh - 45%

autothrall, June 15th, 2011

Few are the bands which deserve the proverbial fork stuck in them more than Florida's Six Feet Under. Yet in stark defiance of their utensil wielding detractors, they persist year after year in releasing vapid, uninspired studio albums amidst their sodden live recordings and useless, numbing collections of cover tracks. Commandment comes along with its bloodied skull leering out at the prospective audience, and I'd so like to add the caption 'LET ME OUTTA HERE', because Chris Barnes and company have once again fallen well short of what it takes to release a proper death metal album, or a proper death & roll album, or whatever the fuck this middling collection of palm mute grooves could rightly be dubbed.

The only real credit due to this album is the production, which is enormous and thus entirely wasted on such sodden, underwhelming songwriting. Because of the sound itself, the album will trick the listener into thinking its heavier, more crushing, more legitimate than some of its pathetic predecessors like Warpath or Bringer of Blood. But once we cut through the smoke and mirrors of the actual engineering, this is nothing more than the usual, pedestrian grasp upon horror culture concepts like "Zombie Executioner" and "Resurrection of the Rotten", delivered through minimal and ineffective note sequences that generally consist of about four chords open or muted, in simple ascending and descending patterns that just about any guitar player with distortion could write in seconds. I might not mind the lyrics if the music were good. But who exactly writes this material? Barnes? Or Steve Swanson? Considering the loyalty through which these members have persisted together since Maximum Violence, one might expect some level of evolution.

Yet these are more or less the precise same sorts of riffs that populated the early albums, with only the brighter sheen of production to lend them weight. There's one lead sequence in the final track, the bridge of "Ghosts of the Undead", which almost melted my mind it stood out so far from the dull bludgeoning around it, and its presence alone leads me believe that the musicians involved in 6FU could actually write some half-decent material if they stopped phoning it all in to Metal Blade, but I won't cross my fingers. Nope, these are the same chugging abortions that the band have always conjured forth, a limp hybrid of Obituary and Biohazard that goes absolutely nowhere fast. Commandment does maintain some variation between faster and slower paces, but its all incredibly weak in the knees considering the muscle of the mix.


Better - 65%

Gore_Hammer, December 5th, 2008

Another effort from the once unholy god of death metal…

Commandment, 8th studio album of ex Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes, as part of Six Feet Under. Part of the reason this album is better than any other “SFU” album is, because it was written and produced by Chris Barnes. Back in his time with Cannibal Corpse, Chris pretty much did everything and let the band do fuck all but play instruments and the stuff that came out of it was insanely brutal. Now that Chris has done most of the work himself i.e. written and produced the album, Six Feet Under have pulled off a better effort that most people thought possible.

Barnes’s vocals have always been pretty damn good as and here he proves it, while not as inhumanly guttural as his “CC” days he is still got a very brutal growl. Also his tendency to try and extend his growls for to long and have his voice turn into a pathetic attempt at black metal vocals has been toned down massively. The only exception is in “Bled to Death” where it unfortunately happens several times but apart form that no ultra shittness in the vocals department.

The instruments are another thing that makes Commandment good. It’s simple and catchy. It has an old-school death metal feel to it, which is a refreshing change from technical bands like Decapitated and Psycroptic. Six Feet Under take a very simple approach with Commandment and it proves to be very effective, but eventually it gets incredibly boring. The album has a few solos in it and their pretty sub-par. Steve Swanson does an okay job but he could have done a lot better. The rifting and solos in this album are pretty basic and some it seems are reused on different songs. The drumming is possibly the worst thing in this in this album as it is so basic you would expect to find more technical drumming in rock music. Another disappointing aspect of the album is the near complete lack of audible bass.

Lyrical themes continue to be solid here. Zombies rising up, consuming the living, mutilating with a hatchet it’s all here. Some of the best being in “Edge Of The Hatchet” were Chris sings about killing someone with a “Sharpened meat cleaver” the best lines in this song are “the edge of the hatchet chopping away, the rot and the gore as arteries spray. The blood in your body now drain and puddles urine soaked skin mix with feces and bile” and “the edge of the hatchet now bloody and wet smashing through skill cutting through neck open wounds pulsate as glands are dissected eyeballs implode as genitals spew infection” okay, but utter shit compared to his “Cannibal” days.

So maybe the best thing to come out of Six Feet Under as a whole in quite sometime.

Extreme, Unholy Oldschool Death Metal - 100%

buriedmind, July 18th, 2008

I'm impressed!

This is one of 2007's strongest releases, this band show us another greath display of misanthropy, pain, suffering and human catastrophy.

In this work we can found Throat ripping guitar from Steve Swanson, gut pounding bass from Terry Butler, and skull crushing drums from Greg Gall. You take those ingredients and top them off with the vocal carnage of the man himself, Chris Barnes, and what you have is a deadly combination that enjoys spreading doom and destruction wherever they go...

From the opening "doomsday", Commandment instantly gets the blood flowing. This song have many mid tempo parts shared with extreme ones, having a really great result. The highlights through the cd are of course the rhythm guitars sections that are really awesome, reminding of Hellhammer and very early Celtic Frost, “Resurrection of the Rotten”, "Thou Shall Kill", "As the Blade Turns", and "In a Vacant Grave" showcase the bands crushing progress. Barnes' vocals kill as always as the band stays true to their roots here; brutality, carnage, zombies and death.

Lyrically speaking, there are many interesting ideas of death in many different ways, whether it is a fictional story of the human race being overtaken by the living dead and using that as a type of symbolism for other things in life as Chris states himself. In addition Chris likes to search out about the darker side of life and human existence and questions of our own demise as human beings. The production here is really clean, tight and heavy, what a great work.

So in resume SFU mark their brutal return after their extraordinary "13" album back in 2005, straightforward brutality and diseased death metal in the 34 minutes and 26 seconds of this album, all the necessary elements which made them really popular are found here once again, with newly incorporated ideas, making Commandment anything but an original and classic death metal record.

One of the most God awful pieces of shit ever... - 5%

BastardHead, March 26th, 2008

Jesus fuck mothering tit spray! This band has fans? Of all the world's mysteries, that is the one I would most like explained. I just don't get it.... I can liken it to the Manson family. Who in their right mind listens to this on their own free will? I won't lie, I haven't heard any other Six Feet Under prior to this release, but you can't fucking pay me to try anything else by this bland pile of anus.

I'll start this off with the positive, Thou Shalt Kill actually has a pretty cool riff here and there, and the same can be said about Zombie Executioner or Resurrection of the Rotten, but that's it. The entire five points come from those three or four riffs. The rest of the record is boring, monotonous, tedious, uninspired, and just unequivocally bad. There is no intensity, no fire, no ambition, it's just a plodding exercise in not headbutting a sidewalk. Chris Barnes' vocals are about as good as a piss and broccoli soup with sweat broth. They never ever change, which isn't a necessity, but when you have as bad of a voice as Barnes or the guy from Meshuggah, the very least you can do is change it up every once in a while before people start wanting to pry your eyes out with a salad fork. Listen to when he tries to do some higher pitched stuff, it sounds like one of the Thundercats licked it's nuts a few too many times and now has to hock up a monstrous hairball. It's fucking terrible, I've heard better flatulence than this "legend's" half assed croaking.

And for the music? Plodding, boring, uninspired, just very dull. The most extreme example off the top of my head would be the first realization after reaching track five, Bled to Death. Didn't I just hear that shit?! It's the exact fucking riff as the opening track! They can't even scrounge up enough ideas to go literally fifteen minutes without reusing a previous hackneyed "idea". And the worst part? It's not even a good riff to start with! Nothing intrigues me about this disgusting album musically. It's always midpaced and seems afraid to stray away from the same six chords used throughout the album. I understand that the intention with Six Feet Under was to make death metal that wasn't reliant on speed and blast beats, but this is just really bad. You can't shit on a raccoon and hurl it on a canvas and reply "well it's SUPPOSED to look bad" when somebody points out that it fucking sucks as art.

The only redeeming quality about this auditory thumb screw torture would be the fact that no songs are over four minutes long, which means the pain is over quickly. I honestly don't know what's worse about it, the uninspired, plodding riffage or Chris Barnes' atrocious garble. It's like taking a Vietnamese POW and forcing him to choose between being sodomized by a cactus or being nipple clamped to death.

In short (as I can't stand to listen to this festering turd any longer than necessary), this is almost the nadir of musical... well everything. The songs are all boring, every riff and drum beat sounds uninspired, the vocals are monotonous, and the album on the whole is about as much fun as watching your best friend suck off your dad. Avoid this horrendously offending pile of offal at all costs. Honestly, you'll have a more enjoyable experience gargling a pint of nut sweat.

Forgettable and Monotonous - 48%

darkreif, May 23rd, 2007

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.

Finally after almost 2 entire years of waiting!! - 77%

JoeCapricorn, April 18th, 2007

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.