Review by Greg Cadman
For much of his career, Six Feet Under mainman Chris Barnes has been better known as the original frontman for Floridian death metal legends Cannibal Corpse, with his new project only achieving moderate success while his former band have gone on to become one of the biggest extreme metal acts of all time. While it’s unfair to still be comparing SFU to Cannibal Corpse in 2013 – because to be fair, they are worlds apart musically – the fact of the matter is in their twenty year existence, Six Feet Under have never really been that great. They’re one of those bands who go on for years and years, releasing album after album, but rarely seem to hit that sweet spot and finally achieve the major success of their contemporaries in their twenty year career.
Unborn starts with ‘Neuro Osmosis’ which boasts a sludgy riff but is soon bogged down with melodic leads and pinch harmonics that sound completely out of place. It all sounds a little messy – and not the good kind of messy. ‘Prophecy’ almost sounds nu-metal-ish, with its simple riff and lame lyrics. It ends with a fade-out before it gets interesting, which seems a little lazy. ‘Zombie Blood Curse’, ‘Decapitate’ and ‘Incision’ continue this tradition, with some decent riffs and the occasional blastbeat, but most of the songs are sluggish and ultimately unremarkable. Barnes’ vocals aren’t particularly impressive either; his style will most likely get on your nerves after a couple of tracks.
In theory, incorporating such a wide array of influences is healthy for a band to be doing this far into their career, but it’s hard to tell what kind of band Six Feet Under are trying to be on this album, and the mish-mash of styles will leave you feeling lost. It’s groove metal with not enough groove, brutal death with not enough brutality, and melodic death with not enough melody. This is more Soulfly than Suffocation, more Chimaira than Carcass, more Mudvayne than Morbid Angel. That’s not really a bad thing, but Six Feet Under could be doing so much better. They generally sound worse than most of the bands you could compare them to.
Unborn is not a bad album. It’s serviceable, but hard to recommend. They have the elements of a great band, but none of them developed enough to please those wanting a quality extreme metal release. It’s not nearly as fresh and exciting as it should be (given that guitarists from Chimaira and Whitechapel contributed to it) and that’s dissapointing for a band this far into their career.
5 out of 10
- Neuro Osmosis
- Zombie Blood Curse
- Alive to Kill You
- The Sinister Craving
- The Curse of the Ancients
- Illusions (Bonus Track)