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Six Feet Under
Commandment
May 2007
Released: 2007, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

If you are a fan of Six Feet Under, read on. If not, please skip to the next review…

















There…now that the haters have left the hall, the loyal followers of Six Feet Under can hunker down and sink their teeth into the band’s latest hatchet assault, COMMANDMENT. Sporting Chris Barnes’ usual thick, murky production, COMMANDMENT doesn’t drift far from the band’s tried-and-true formula of blood-soaked, zombie-fied lyrics, chugging, downtuned riffs and a bottom-end fatter and chunkier than a Puerto Rican chica. Barnes’ ominous death metal rattle is unmistakable—gruff to the max and unforgiving in its brutality. As he did on 13, Steve Swanson drops some great shredding guitar solos, too. Nothing technical or flashy, but solid, whammy-diving bursts that suit the music. There is nothing revolutionary or cutting edge here; Six Feet Under unashamedly does what they do and their fans love and expect it. In other words, Six Feet Under fans can prepare to start rubbing their necks after this 36-minute headbang-o-rama because COMMANDMENT follows much the same path as 13 did, burrowing into the band’s glory days of HAUNTED, WARPATH and MAXIMUM VIOLENCE while adding just the right twist on bloodshed, killing and the walking dead.



“Doomsday” is a stellar opening track unleashing the band’s patented mid-tempo death metal groove. The rhythm section of Terry Butler and Greg Gall drive the track and even pack a breakdown into the middle that grinds away like a bonesaw. Tracks like “Thou Shall Kill” and “Resurrection of The Rotten” fire away with unrelenting speed and aggression, touching on the very tenets of decency society holds dear. One can almost hear the glee in Barnes’ voice as he croaks, “Bodies hanging from hooks/They decay and I fuck them as maggots feed.” “The Edge of The Hatchet” and “As The Blade Turns” rumble with a swaggering groove that only Six Feet Under can do. “Bled To Death” opens with a machine gun salvo and is propelled by crushing riffs and double bass that make the track an easy standout. Likewise, the slow, brooding cadence of “Ghosts of The Undead” settles into a comfortable tempo that compels the listener to involuntarily headbang. Swanson’s solo here, the best on the album, snakes through the middle of the song and is delivered with speed and precision. Swanson also shines on the intro of “In A Vacant Grave,” pummeling the listener with a quick blast of axework.



COMMANDMENT is another bullseye for Six Feet Under. The one-note vocals of Chris Barnes have always been give-or-take and many will argue that the music is lacking any skill but, the two GRAVEYARD CLASSICS albums aside, Six Feet Under has rarely made a misstep in a dozen years. BRINGER OF BLOOD was a bit uninspired and simplistic but 2005’s 13 saw the band come back with a vengeance and COMMANDMENT continues down that same path. For death metal groove, no one does it better than Six Feet Under and COMMANDMENT is testament to the band’s unwavering devotion to the genre and their fans.



KILLER KUTS: “Doomsday,” “Thou Shall Kill,” “The Edge of The Hatchet,” “Bled To Death,” “Resurrection of The Rotten,” “In A Vacant Grave,” “Ghosts of The Undead”
Track Listing

1. Doomsday
2. Thou Shall Kill
3. Zombie Executioner
4. The Edge of The Hatchet
5. Bled To Death
6. Resurrection of The Rotten
7. As The Blade Turns
8. The Evil Eye
9. In A Vacant Grave
10. Ghosts of The Undead

Lineup

Chris Barnes—Vocals
Steve Swanson—Guitar
Terry Butler—Bass
Greg Gall—Drums


Next review: » Six Feet Under - Commandment
Previous review: » Six Feet Under - Bringer Of Blood

Six Feet Under
Commandment
July 2007
Released: Apri, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Hanntu

Six Feet Under was the band that Chris Barnes involved himself in after leaving/getting kicked out of the legendary New York death metal band Cannibal Corpse in 1995. Joining him was the guitarist from Obituary Allen West, who was later replaced by Steve Swanson, and rounded out by bassist Terry Butler and drummer Greg Gall, who have been in the band ever since.



Six Feet Under are a weird bunch. A death metal band that, while maintaining the genre’s fascination with gore, blood, torture and violence, regularly incorporates discussions of political issues into their lyrics. A death metal band that has eschewed the traditional lightning attack of drumming and riffing in favour of a more midpaced, stoner, groove-oriented experience. A death metal band that released TWO albums consisting entirely of covers – GRAVEYARD CLASSICS I which was largely tolerated, and GRAVEYARD CLASSICS II, the remake of AC/DC’s BACK IN BLACK album, which was roundly condemned. So, they’re not your average death metal band then.



Well, the long suffering fans of Six Feet Under will be happy to know that they have in their hands a quite average, normal, safe death metal release. The album is slightly faster than their groove-rock approach in their first two albums WARPATH and HAUNTED, almost reminiscent of MAXIMUM VIOLENCE. It has an almost downtuned thrashy feel to it, palm muted chugging about 90% of the time, and I’m absolutely loving the guitar tone on this album. Heavy and aggressive, the riffs bounce around your cranium, with just that right amount of growl and snarl in it. And it is impossible not to headbang to the pulse in the album. The bass is amazingly clear and can be distinctly heard over the guitarist. The only disappointing aspect is the drumming, which although competent isn’t exciting. Chris Barnes is in excellent voice, I’ve always been a big fan of Cannibal Corpse TOMB OF THE MUTILATED-era, and one of the main reasons was Chris Barnes hateful growling. I don’t have the lyric sheet, so I can’t tell you about Six Feet Under’s famous humour and general weirdoness.



COMMANDMENT doesn’t break new ground. It’s not especially fast (duh), it’s not especially technical, it’s not especially exciting, it’s not especially catchy, it’s not especially bad or dull or under/over-produced or shit or crap or excellent. It’s just…okay. If you like death metal, get it; if you’ve heard it all before, then it’s best to save your hard earned cash for something else.
Track Listing

1. Doomsday
2. Thou Shalt Kill
3. Zombie Executioner
4. The Edge of the Hatchet
5. Bleed to Death
6. Resurrection of the Rotten
7. As the Blade Turns
8. The Evil Eye
9. In a Vacant Grave
10. Ghosts of the Undead

Lineup

Chris Barnes: vocals
Steve Swanson: guitars
Terry Butler: bass
Greg Gall: drums


Next review: » Six Feet Under - Commandment
Previous review: » Six Feet Under - Bringer Of Blood

Six Feet Under
Commandment
December 2007
Released: 2007, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Well, Chris Barnes certainly is a persistent guy isn’t he? I mean, you certainly can’t fault his dedication to death metal. After all, he toiled away in Cannibal Corpse for 7 years, formed this band in 1993, and still going strong today. Scary. Anyway, COMMANDMENT is SFU’s seventh full-length album, not included live and covers albums and I have to say that I’ve never been a fan. I’ve heard a few songs here and there, and had the misfortune to be tortured all the way through both covers discs (Graveyard “Classics”, my ass), but somehow Six Feet Under have never really been on my radar.



Given that, I assumed that I knew what to expect going into my first listen of COMMANDMENT. After all, early Cannibal Corpse is your standard workman-like death metal, and word is that Six Feet Under is similar, but even groovier. Well, after just one listen, it’s obvious that IS the case. Six Feet Under are doing nothing spectacular, but their brand of death metal is a good for a quick neck thrashing. Take the driving “The Edge of the Hatchet” for example: it’s got a great, old-school central riff, catchy vocal lines from Barnes, and the usual “kill you” lyrics. All in all, good fun. It’s also cool that you can make out what Barnes is howling about – it`s not often you get decipherable growls.



Truthfully, given the technicality inherent in a lot of modern death metal these days, Six Feet Under’s stripped down approach is refreshing – to a point. Repeated listens tend to not hold up very well, as you realize that the album is basically beginner’s death metal. Still, love ‘em or hate ‘em, SFU are both controversial and popular, so they must be doing something right. If you’ve got a hankering for a simpler death metal with an old-school approach, then you may just want to check out COMMANDMENT.
Track Listing

1) Doomsday
2) Thou Shall Kill
3) Zombie Executioner
4) The Edge of the Hatchet
5) Bled to Death
6) Resurrection of the Rotten
7) As the Blade Turns
8) The Evil Eye
9) A Vacant Grave
10) Ghosts of the Undead

Lineup

Chris Barnes: Vocals
Steve Swanson: Guitars
Greg Gall: Drums
Terry Butler: Bass


Next review: » Six Feet Under - Death Rituals
Previous review: » Six Feet Under - Bringer Of Blood





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