Reviewed by Leo Kindred
Given the negative attention that vocalist Chris Barnes has attracted, what with recently punching Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation whilst they were on tour together and then tweeting “If you eat tofu, you’ll get your ass kicked in a fight”, I can’t say I was endeared much to the idea of Six Feet Under.
But aside from that I know nothing about them, and I only know who Barnes is because of his previous work with Cannibal Corpse, and his current work as a dick. So spinning Unborn, the band’s tenth full length release, I tried to go in judgement free, after all it’s death metal right? It’s not going to be too objectionably left field. And indeed it isn’t.
Growling vocals, the kind that sound like gargling with vinegar whilst nursing a major head cold, and mid-paced menacing songs with stumbling, discomfited evil riffs are the order of the day. It’s the kind of album you’d have the anti-social metal guys in your low-budget horror movie listening to, at the cemetery/run-down building/dis-used genetics laboratory, before the morally restorative arrival of the zombies/vampires/mutant fish/pterodactyls.
And at the outset there’s nothing that seems awry, opening with ‘Neuro Osmosis’ and the plodding ‘Prophecy’ there are a couple of moments where I could have conceivably been listening to modern death metal guardians Gojira. Not as awful as Chris Barnes’s behaviour, but certainly nothing of note and the orthodoxy as whole becomes stifling and a bit dull.
It becomes clear that Unborn is not going to change gear, or turn this formula into something memorable, and whilst not a Cannibal Corpse clone the effect of an entire album of chunking guitars, chundering vocals and mostly changeless mode makes for an ultimately challenge-less release that probably won’t survive the dustbin of history.