Album review: SIX FEET UNDER – Unborn

Metal Blade – Out Now.

Constant band line up changes are normally the stuff of nightmares for any devoted fan as they normally tend to affect both the style and character of a band. In the case of the Floridian Deathsters Six Feet Under, however, additions and removals have so far proven to be very beneficial, as suggested by the quality of the music presented by last year’s studio effort “Undead”.

Months after the release of that very same album, the band welcomed in its ranks guitarist Ola Englund and bassist Jeff Hughell and with their help began working on eleven new compositions, which now put together Six Feet Under’s tenth full length release entitled “Unborn”.

The first thing you will notice when looking at the album cover of “Unborn” is that it follows a concept not so alien to that of its predecessor, but similarities between the two albums do not stop there. Once again Chris Barnes and Co looked towards their glorious past for inspiration and their ‘blitzkrieg’ approach to song writing has been very successful as their newly-created short compositions are filled with massive-sounding groovy riffs and vocal harmonies which, though straight-forward, are dangerously infectious in their appeal.

Kevin Talley’s personal contribution has been integral in shaping the album’s character as not only has he come up with some pretty challenging fills but he has also provided the platform upon which Steve Swanson has built his massive riffs – Six Feet Under’s trademark feature since day one.

I really love the way “Neuro Osmosis” kicks off the proceedings as both the acoustic intro and the subsequent heavy laden riff are of the highest quality. Chris Barnes is fast in proving why he is considered amongst the most influential Death Metal singers of all time, with his varied vocals adding much character to the bombastic opus “Prophecy”.

Presenting your best song quite early in the album is not what most bands would opt for but Six Feet Under is not what you would describe as the average band, right? “Zombie Blood Curse” is the kind of song whose riff you will constantly want to head bang to and whose refrain you will sing-along to at any given opportunity and the same applies to the straight-forward “Incision”.

Sandwiched between them is “Decapitate”, a cleverly-crafted and bombastic belter which follows a path similar to “Fragment” – another rhythmically challenging piece. The latter part of the album showcases similar variety of material with “Alive To Kill You”, “Inferno” and “Psychosis” following more classic formulae, whereas songs like “The Sinister Craving” and “The Curse Of Ancients” clearly portray the band’s new-found maturity and inspiration.

I remember a time when I found myself thinking that perhaps I had heard all there was to hear from Six Feet Under, but albums like “Unborn” clearly suggest that there is still much life in this old ‘corpse’ (pun clearly intended!).

Clearly inspired, much energized and always under the protective wings of Metal Blade, Six Feet Under can attain their future with much faith and optimism; as long as they are releasing albums of the quality of “Unborn” then no extreme metal aficionado will refuse them their support.

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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