Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Six Feet Under - Undead

If you want the semi-ultimate overview of Six Feet Under’s history, you can read my review on their 2008 album, Death Rituals. But to help kick off this review, I’ll just say that Six Feet Under started off their career in the mid-90s releasing death metal classics. But after the release of Maximum Violence, the albums that followed can be described as unspeakable atrocity; some of them are even considered to be some of the worst death metal albums in history. But then they released an album that I not only consider a HUGE comeback, but an overall amazing album that won back the support of thousands. But the big question that I had was: is Death Rituals just a fluke? Well, this review is the answer to that question.

When I first heard about the release of Undead, I knew what I was going to be looking for. I wasn’t looking for something innovative and progressive, I was basically looking for a more developed and mature version of Death Rituals. I love the sound that Death Rituals gives, but there were still some loose ends and weak spots that needed work. It turns out that for the most part, Six Feet Under gave me what I was looking for. Undead has a sound that’s solid, confident, and proof that Death Rituals wasn’t a fluke. I think that all of you can agree with me when I say that our music library can’t be COMPLETELY made up of progressive bands; we all enjoy our fair share of “generic” bands (even though they might not be our favorites). But there are some people that would say “I fill my generic death metal needs with OLD classics from bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide!” Personally, I LOVE those old-school death metal albums, but eventually I’m going to want to hear something new (but still just pure death metal). There are a handful of bands out there that help satisfy that appetite many of us have, and Six Feet Under is one of those…although not one of the best because of their horrid musical history. But Undead is more than satisfying.

Those of you that know the modern Chris Barnes know that he has the ability to emit one of the most horrendous and appalling sounds the world has ever heard. One of my strongest hopes is to hear a Six Feet Under album where Barnes NEVER lets out that terrible sound. Here’s the good news: the amount of times that he makes that sound has literally plummeted. Here’s the bad news: there are two songs where he does it…but only once. This major absence of that sound makes this record a million times easier to enjoy! Not only that, but his growling has actually improved a bit (he doesn’t sound like a toilet).

I think that it’s official that Six Feet Under are out of the hole they dug themselves into. Undead took me by surprise and obliterated my negative suspicions with demonic vocals, super thick guitar distortions, skull-crushing breakdowns, and colorful songs with creativity yet still staying 100% true to the pure death metal sound. I would give this record 16/20 and would recommend it to all traditional death metal fans.