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Noktorn, May 23rd, 2011

I'm at a complete loss for words. Six Feet Under somehow turned everything around and made a good album! I have no idea how they managed to start their career with a pretty cool death metal record, then trudge through shit for another 8 ALBUMS before finally landing on a good one again. Ironically, it feels like the big reason this album works is because Six Feet Under have actually gotten so bad they've gone right around to good again- well, that and because it feels like it resembles 'Haunted' more than any other Six Feet Under album. Seriously though, even if you've discounted Six Feet Under's entire career, you should check this one out- if it managed to convince me, I don't see why you might be any different.

This really feels more stripped down and raw than the past few records by the band- the production lacks polish, and it feels like the band just bashed out the recording in a few days. The guitar tone is low and unformed, the drums sound thick and saturated, and the vocals... well, a point on the vocals. Chris Barnes is a terrible vocalist. He's sucked for a very long time. But something mysterious happens on this record: Barnes' voice actually gets so raspy, ragged, and burnt out that it somehow becomes cool again. His growls are so ruined by weed smoke and stupidity that they've become positively ghoulish and weird and unlike anything else in death metal. While they're still a bit loud in the mix, they're more monstrous and bizarre than we've heard in a long time. I have no idea how it worked out this way, but it has.

I think Six Feet Under really got back to basics and started listening to their old Obituary and Celtic Frost records again for this one, because this definitely features the most solid riffing the band has done since 'Haunted'- hell, even better since now they're actually writing real songs and stuff. It's no dumber than before, don't get me wrong, but the chugging, almost doomy riffs and the more uptempo, seemingly Bolt Thrower inspired numbers definitely have a lot more energy and personality behind them than the band has had, well, ever. Six Feet Under has always been a rock band in death metal drag basically, but now they're writing really good rock songs that I actually want to listen to. The song structures are solid and well constructed (like on 'Eulogy For the Undead' and its wonderful riffset), and I can say with full faith that this may be the very first album Six Feet Under has done which could be properly described as good.

Seriously guys, if you've given up on Six Feet Under, check this one out before you confirm that. This is actually a surprisingly good album from a band I never thought would turn it around. Yes, it's as dumb as death metal can possibly get, but fuck it, it's a fun listen and the tracks are actually memorable this time around. Give it a shot even if you don't want to!