Devil’s Review: Six Feet Under – Undead

Back story time: Back in the 90’s, I was kind of heartbroken when I showed up to a concert at Hammerjacks in Baltimore, Maryland just to find out that the guy “singing” with Cannibal Corpse on stage was not on Chris Barnes, but a new guy. I was still fairly new to the band, only being a fan of a few years, collecting the albums Eaten Back To Life, The Bleeding and Tombs of the Mutilated. I wasn’t a huge fan of the band, but I enjoyed those albums from time to time and when I had the chance to see them in concert with Anthrax and the Misfits, jumped on the opportunity. Somewhere in that time-frame between 1994 and 1995, Chris Barnes was replaced with George Fisher while he was working on a side project called…Six Feet Under. I warmed up to Fishers vocals quickly, but I for the longest time I was one of those people that was pro-Barnes. Needless to say when I found Six Feet Under’s debut album The Haunting, I was a happy fan. C’mon now. This was Chris Barnes singing to a death metal sound that had heavy Obituary influences. How could it now sound awesome? Of course that Obituary influenced sound was because Allen West was playing guitar. After their second album, Warpath, West left to rejoin Obituary until his next departure from that band in 2006. This is actually when I stopped listening for awhile. I got back interested in about 2003 with Bringer of Blood, which had a really crisp production and a strange, almost rotary vocal effect that Barnes was experimenting with; however, I was still kind of bored with the sound. 13 brought back a muddier sound to the band, but still…boring. I honestly should have given up there, but I didn’t. Death Rituals didn’t do much more for me but prove to me that maybe Cannibal Corpse made the right move by moving on with a new lead man. So, does Undead do anything to change my otherwise opinion of sheer boredom with Six Feet Under. Nope.

Like so many of the past Six Feet Under album, it has its shining moments, but not enough to make me want to listen to it more than I have to to write a review. The main problem I have with Six Feet Under is the vocals. Aside from the death metal riffs being very stock and boring, Chris Barnes does nothing to try to sway my opinion that I feel that it’s as if he’s not even trying much anymore. As far as the actual band behind the music goes, each and every member is a very capable musician. Ron Arnold formerly of Chimaira and Kevin Tally…also formerly of Chimaira and current Daath drummer bring their talent to the mix, but it’s not really showcased much.

The bottom line is, Six Feet Under do just enough to get by and do nothing to curb my boredom of the genre. Barnes makes me wonder why I ever even supported him as much as I did when he departed Cannibal Corpse. If you want to hear Chris Barnes at his best, listen to Cannibal Corspe’ The Bleeding or Six Feet Under’s The Haunting. Everything before or in between is mediocre at best. Of course this is all my own opinion and I’m starting to wonder if I should even bother reviewing any death metal due to my bias because of my utter dissatisfaction with the bullshit that qualifies as death metal anymore. Six Feet Under is more like Six Feet Blunder. Let us hope that Suffocation, even with the departure of Mike Smith, can continue to churn out credible death metal. Now, for an ear canal cleansing from Suffocation; a band that is consistent yet somehow keeps it fresh…

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