Six Feet Under – Unborn

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Review by Greg Cadman

Metal Blade

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.

Six Feet Under - Unborn 20135 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Neuro Osmosis
  2. Prophecy
  3. Zombie Blood Curse
  4. Decapitate
  5. Incision
  6. Fragment
  7. Alive to Kill You
  8. The Sinister Craving
  9. Inferno
  10. Psychosis
  11. The Curse of the Ancients
  12. Illusions (Bonus Track)

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hah, what I love about all you metal fundamentalists is that you all seem obsessed with subgenre names and categories and love to attach certain rules to them.
    Look at this review: You don’t like it because it fails to fit in any of your beloved categories? So what? I don’t care about SFU very much, but I know a good album when I hear one. Maybe it takes an open mind(i.e. not a category-obsessed metal mind)to notice that the album is great.
    Overall, I think many metal reviewers think way too much in terms of technical aspects and styles.

    • Thank you for your comment Crimsonking but I think you’ll find that Greg’s perspective is very different to how you read it.
      Greg’s point – which he clearly makes – is that SFU’s latest album is lacking not because it doesn’t fit into any category, but because it’s a bad album.
      By making comparisons to the bands and genres he mentions, Greg is pointing out that SFU, a band now 20 years old, are failing to produce anything better than bands and genres much younger are producing.
      Clearly, Greg is far from “category-obsessed” and knows much more about metal than you are prepared to give him credit for.
      Of course, you are welcome to your opinion of the album as much as Greg is, but choosing to negate a review on a point such as yours is tenuous at best.
      And having an “open mind” doesn’t necessarily make an album “great”, regardless whether the album is “great” or not.

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