Six Feet Under: Unborn

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    Approaching Unborn the new and tenth album from Tampa death metallers Six Feet Under there was a mix of expectations after hearing the songs making up the release were written around the same time as those on their more than decent previous album Undead of last year. Would they be tracks which were deemed not good enough or suitable for their previous album or could they stand alone with equal or superior results? It does not take too long to realise they certainly have the strength and quality to match those on the last album though equally they do not leap beyond it in standards or engagement either. It is basically a sister release to Undead, a sideways step or second part depending how you look at it which leaves one more than satisfied but devoid of any fired up passion towards it.

With a new line-up of guitarists Ola Englund and Steve Swanson, bassist Jeff Hughell, drummer Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Chimaira), and the distinctive corrosive tones of band founder Chris Barnes (ex-Cannibal Corpse), Six Feet Under return to the scene of ‘the crime’ satisfyingly created with Undead to give arguably a more vicious and visceral musical breath to the again Metal Blade Records released Unborn. The songs making up the album again are borne from when Barnes wrote with a group of guitarists/songwriters in Ben Savage (Whitechapel), Rob Arnold (ex-Chimaira) and Jari Laine (Torture Killer), a union which has brought rich rewards across both albums.

The album makes an initially gentle approach with inviting guitar caresses to open up Neuro Osmosis but is soon opening up itsSix Feet Under - Unborn muscles and intent with dramatic grooves and caging rhythms whilst Barnes exploits every syllable of his delivery with a corruptive and intimidating abrasive primal growl. The song whips and scores the ear with accomplished and inventive sonic intimidation crafted into barbed lures which equally seduce and threaten. It is a pleasing start which captures the imagination ready for the following encounters starting with the prowling Prophecy. The track swaggers with spite and devious intent knowing its weaponry of sinewy riffs and hungry rhythms is a seduction hard to resist. The song does make the keenest persuasion and ticks all the boxes a musical appetite has but its failure to find anything unique to really excite slightly defuses its promising strengths a little.

It is a good start though and leaves one more than happy to delve deeper into the release with an immediate reward from the outstanding Zombie Blood Curse. The track stomps with confidence and magnetic unrelenting purpose, the guitars chugging with a greedy hunger and bass adding extra raptorial malevolence to the rampant endeavour. Mid-way the track slips into a sonic enticement which initially feels wrong but soon leaves an appealing flavour before the song returns to its carnally conceived romp. It is by far the best track on the album and a rival to the greatest moments on the previous album too.

The likes of Decapitate, the carnivorous Fragment with Barnes at his most venomous, and The Sinister Craving with crippling drum skills from Talley carving up the senses, all make their mark though without lighting any rages or fires inside. Despite that the album continues to satisfy and pull the listener into its firm grip squeezing with extra thrills through Alive to Kill You and Psychosis. The first of the two chews and exhausts the senses with a riotous and eager bloodlust honed by the vocals and sharp guitar scything across the ear whilst the second moulds and perverts emotions with fiery sonic teasing and imaginatively destructive guitar confrontation.

Unborn is certainly a strong and pleasing release which alongside the last album sees Six Feet Under finding a much more widely palatable and impressive presence with vital grooves and moments of inciting invention to those not already persuaded by the band. Whether it will convince all that the band is their new passion is unlikely but neither will the album leave any depth of displeasure in its wake.

https://www.facebook.com/sixfeetunder

7/10

RingMaster 19/03/2013

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Six Feet Under: Undead

To be honest the enthusiasm going into the new album from death metal giants Six Feet Under was not at an all time high. This is a band that has not really lit any personal fires or imagination since their emergence leading into the mid nineties most predominantly from the dislike of the style of vocalist and founder Chris Barnes, something the attention to his previous band Cannibal Corpse also suffered when he was fronting them. It is purely personal taste and without any reason, just an aversion to his vocals as simple as that. This has led to only fleeting acquaintances with their previous eight albums until now. It has to be said Undead again did not cause any mass jubilation or a breakout of unbridled passion with the initial contact relatively underwhelming. But it is a sneaky little beast and given the deserved time and multiple chances to state its case the album proves to be a bit of a slow and persistent burner. It still does not have flags flying but it is a feisty little piece of pleasure that proves its worth even with Barnes as distinct as ever.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Undead is the first release with new guitarist Rob Arnold (ex- Chimaira), who we are led to believe also contributed the bass parts too as new bassist Jeff Hughell joined after the recording. Alongside Arnold and Barnes the album also sees long time guitarist Steve Swanson and drummer Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index, and Chimaira), also new to the band. The album has been quoted by Barnes as “…a rejuvenation, it’s a rebirth of Six Feet Under, and fans will definitely latch on to my excitement and how focused I am in the lyrics I’ve written.” Whether it is down to the energy and creative input of the new members or not there is certainly a freshness and intensity to the release that had vacated some of the previous albums. Arguably originality is still not in full force but allowed the attention and time to express itself the album is certainly rewarding and at times rather impressive.

The opening bomb that is Frozen at the Moment of Death from a first feeling of this is good but… evolves into something additive and openly hypnotic. With a groove that churns up the senses into a tight knot and riffs beating it around the ear the track grows more essential and striking the more it meets the ear. As assumed the vocals stoke up the expected personal preference immediately though once realisation that he sounds just like the Judoon out of Dr Who emerged there was an extra sense of fun attached. As said Barnes is a strong if unvaried vocalist with many others far worse around and it is merely personal taste involved but saying that as the album progresses even a warmth to him emerges or is it submission.

The following Formaldehyde is a blistering assault upon the ears whilst 18 Days with its striking waspish persistent groove sends sparks through the senses. By this point Talley has left nothing but an immense impression upon the music and thoughts, he is a literal machine but with organic instinctive passion and invention. The guitars of Swanson and Arnold too impress as they bustle and cut through the ear with fine play and intensive sounds to ensure each track is intriguing and gratifying, whilst Barnes is Barnes, you always know what you get with his brutish guttural delivery.

Whether the band have worn down the defences or there is a sudden vein of something new the best two tracks on the album by far step up to challenge and inspire next. Firstly the Molest Dead collapses on the ear like a juggernaut of death and destruction, its sprawling fetid breath soaking every note with an atmosphere of dread and violation. This is immediately backed up by Blood On My Hands, a song from an initial predatory crawl which envelopes its host in a soak of spiteful malevolence completes the malefaction with a scorched melodic entrancement and groove which blisters every surface it consumes.

It has to be said by this point and entering into the last third of the album one is hooked especially when the obvious but irrepressible and irresistible Reckless rumbles across the ear. With the most wanton of grooves and an insatiable infection the track rummages through thoughts and darkened corners with eagerness.

     Undead is far from a classic but it is an album that in hindsight ignited a few more flares of passion than at first thought and the more times shared the hotter they become. Six Feet Under did arguably find a rejuvenating essence for the album and it turned out quite striking if not stunning.

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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Truth Corroded – Worship The Bled

If Australian thrash/metalcore band Truth Corroded has not yet made a mark on your metal playlist then with the release of their new album Worship The Bled that will surely soon change. The album is a beast of intent, intensity and outright power that shows no mercy as it thrills and spills senses all across its length.

Worship The Bled is the Adelaide based band’s third full length since reforming as a five piece in 2003 and fourth since they began in 1997. Since their return albums Our Enemy Is The Weapon in 2005 and Upon The Warlords Crawl In 2008, released through Truth Inc Records, have gained the band a rapidly growing following and acclaim especially the latter of the two. A split release with fellow Adelaide band Double Dragon in 2009 only added to their stock but it is with Worship The Bled that widespread recognition is surely a certainty as its quality finds more eager ears to satisfy.

The new release features a new line-up for the band with Dååth drummer Kevin Talley (, Misery Index, Dying Fetus and Chimaira) coming in for the album, plus lead guitarist Darren McLennan joining vocalist Jason North, guitarist Mark Lennard and bassist Greg Damon Shaw. Whether this new infusion of blood is the catalyst or not there is a definite further confidence and more rounded sound to Worship The Bled since its predecessors. The music is harder, even more direct than ever before but carefully and intelligently infused with variations to intrigue and engage.  

Opening on a throaty aboriginal like chant first track ‘Knives of the Betrayed’ menacingly struts in spreading its power slowly and ominously, exploding into frenzy the track seizes hold and devastates with its crushing grasp, the band in no mood to go easy on the senses. Alongside the irrepressible riffs there is an absorbing solo from Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry, who once more brought his skills to the mixing and mastering of the album. His touch and understanding is a strong additional factor to why the album is so impressive, allowing the elements of songwriting and the musicians skills to equally blend and stay distinct.

Levels do not drop only increase as next song ‘Hunt All Heroes’ leads a torrent of unrepentant pummelling track by track. Consistent and relentless the songs are marked by their threatening energy, impressive musicianship, and well thought out and structured creation. The drumming from Talley is jaw dropping, the man immense and one doubts that anyone else could have brought the aggressive and stunningly skilful assault that punctuates each track. His power is equally matched by Mclennan and Lennard, their play scorching the flesh with insurgent riveting riffs and diverse play.

The thumping ‘Leave Nothing Alive’, along with ‘Remnants’ an atmospheric and moody predatory surge of music, and the best track on the album, ‘Dragged Beneath’ are the strongest and most emotionally intensive songs on the album, though each track on the release is an immense contribution to a fine album. The third of these particular songs is a fearsome and mournful track, the strings and emotive touch around the intense power a great variant and example of the bands evolving songwriting skills.

Worship The Bled is an impressive extreme, brutal and alternately skilful and darkly melodic release showing a band at its height of creativity. The closing seven minute flow and diversity of ‘Summon Abyss’ the perfect example of their varied and stirring sounds and though personally the shorter and harder tracks are more favourable this song is impressive and ends with the same feeling and  chant as the album started. Though the album is maybe lacking that one song that lingers and repeats in the mind without warning it is a greatly satisfying and enjoyable release and Truth Corroded on the verge of the worldwide recognition they deserve.

http://www.truthcorroded.com

RingMaster 28/10/2011

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