Six Feet Under
Undead

The round-up of dudes busting their chops behind Barnes this time around certainly is bringing the Six Feet Under sound into one much needed metamorphosis on Undead, making it one impressively varied and positively lethiferous affair that took me aback. The addition of Rob Arnold (ex-Chimaira) to the band’s ranks has been breathing a considerable amount of new air into the grand scheme of things, putting a forward-thinking edge on the melodic sections and adding, let’s plainly admit it, a slab of fresh and relevant growth to the band’s typical train of thought. The word’s been going around that this release eclipses the previous ones, and I couldn’t agree more; plenty of those tracks are impressive enough to be classified as genuinely memorable. Sure, there are moments of blandness that could’ve been eliminated from the record and thus, greatly ameliorating its impact – still, the noticeable improvement in the overall delivery is bold enough, and I personally can’t help but to dig into the result of this transformation with sheer enthusiasm. I have to underline that the one and only Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Decrepit Birth etc) is pounding the skins, giving a mind-numbingly rageful escalating uproar to the progression of this reasonably concrete tracklist.

”Frozen at the Moment of Death” promptly showcases this imposing and masterful evolution in the overall attack with some neat melodies, a great groove, and a certain hint of a thrashy spirit defining its outlines. It immediately impresses with how vivifying and bar-raising it is. ”Formaldehyde” goes further into that promising direction with one pleasingly engrossing structure, fairly psychotropic technical riffage, and a well-balanced series of tempo shifts. The format is very compact and intelligently laid out, aiding this track greatly in its venture to aim satisfyingly high. It does have its merit. ”18 Days” has en effective down tempo intro, but that fleeting moment of promise is short-lived. The rest of the track is weak at best, sounding half-assed even on the riffage front, as Barnes’ dull and go-through-the-motions growls follow along with the monotony. ”Molest Dead” is slightly better. Nevertheless, it doesn’t succeed in the task of pushing past the boundaries of downright blandness. I can safely say that the awesomeness of the next four tracks sure makes up for this lack of focused consistency with one heck of a moving versatility. ”Blood on My Hands” is very filthy and menacing, and is nuanced enough to keep the interest on board. The fleshing out of the melodic licks around the 2:40 minute-mark is especially kickass. ”Missing Victims” has an elaborate and absorbing main riff, a positively threatening drive in the meshing of the songwriting ideas soaring in the background during the verses, one engaging upbeat tempo shift around mid-track, and some nice hooks and well-calculated pattern shifts. It’s a very spontaneous and creative tune that goes to prove Six Feet Under are solidifying their street cred quite a bit with this smasher of an album. ”Reckless” easily classifies as the catchiest song around these parts. It has punch, grit, and one infectious groove, and the chorus hits the nail on the head. This colossal kick in the face is directly followed by the relentlessly bone-crushing and absolutely uncivil ”Near Death Experience” that rolls in with a riff that sounds a bit off in its introduction, but it thankfully quickly skips to the good stuff by slashing right through brick walls with punishing full speed brutal death dementia backed up by Talley’s voracious delivery.

”The Scar” pales in comparison. The drumming is the key element that gives it personality and an ability to stomp, but the rest of the instrumentation is tame and pedestrian. It’s a moment of clear letdown leading up to a convincing consolation in the form of ”Delayed Combustion Device”. It’s one epic and multifarious ordeal with a heck of an erratic backbone, and that sincerely blows me away in the case of this band. Even Barnes’ growling range is expanding considerably, instantly becoming more powerful by the same token. ”Vampire Apocalypse”, on the other hand, is one vain and decidedly filler dreck. The riffs are missing the mark, the chorus is extremely lame, and the overall vibe of the song is singularly timid ’til a slight addition of kick comes from Talley’s end of the deal to snap one out of the zoneout motion, saving the song from being literally boring until the last second. ”The Depths of Depravity” is a direct contrast to this sub-par flatness with a very cavernous and original approach. It’s meaty, catchy, wild, and knows to go into brutal head-chopping mode at just the right moment, this skin-slicing endeavor being surrounded by effective melodies. The song ends with an entertaining experimental breakdown followed by this sweet and slightly atmospheric melodic bit I wouldn’t’ve expected to hear on a record like this one.

In a nutshell, ”Undead” is definitely good news for the hopefuls that stuck around hoping some kind of rejuvenated twist would rear its head. It pummels mercilessly and sure stands its ground, certainly being remarkable for what it is. Nice work.

 

 

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Written by Noch
May 14th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    SFU has disappointed me for so long, the last album of theirs I really loved was the “Alive And Dead” EP, that I’m wary of this album. Everyone says that it’s awesome and the best thing they’ve done in years…but I don’t know. “Warpath” was so damn bad, I expected to find it floating in the toilet. Please don’t let this be another goddamn “Warpath.”


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