Commandment by Six Feet Under
Release date : April 2007
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
Florida goremeisters Six Feet Under follow 2005's 13 two years later with seventh studio release Commandment, another slab of pain, suffering and human catastrophy. Basic tracks were committed to tape at Mana Recording in St. Petersburg, Florida while vocalist Chris Barnes went to the Hit Factory in Miami, Florida to cut his vocal tracks. As ever, engineer / friend Chris Carroll helped Barnes give his best possible performance, and with some veteran Death Metal pedigree amongst their lineup anticipation is rather high.
Chunky riffs form the immense spinal chord of each track, battering along at their own individual pace. Some of the tuneful hooks prove so overwhelming that they'd be perfectly capable of gutting open a human's bloodied chest cavity (metaphorically speaking of course), much in the vein of Barnes' nightmarish lyrics. In some respects, this is yet another great parable to that old snippet of advice; no need to unnecessarily complicate things with numerous time changes and deviations of key, but to make sure whatever you have at the end is a decent song which has something appealing. What we have here is indeed that; decent songs which hold a degree of appeal, and that's whether you listen to the song “Ghosts of the Undead” which the group made a video for, or other sturdy numbers like “Doomsday” and “Thou Shall Kill”.
The vocal efforts of Chris Barnes over the past few years has undergone stern criticism, whether it be from parts of the Heavy Metal media or the consumer base. In this reviewer's opinion though the alleged “deterioration” of Barnes abilities is largely hogwash, and the best way of disproving this theory is investigating this record and judging it based on its own merits. Take the time to listen to the whole record, and not just a half minute snippet; if you like it then cool, but if not then fair enough. It seems some wish Barnes would recreate his early nineties Cannibal Corpse era through the life of Six Feet Under, which to be frank just wouldn't work. 1992's Tomb of the Mutilated and all the other “essential” releases are there to be bought, enjoyed and revered - they're of their own time, and not even an unlikely reunion of Barnes with his old group would be able to recreate the mood of those records in a modern day release. To expect Barnes to return to this would be rather unfair; it gives little room for musical development or human expression, something which renders any material dead and lifeless. The low, demon-esque growl which launched Barnes in the realms of Death Metal all those years ago is at its eerie best, invoking the chills and thrills a good record should.
One of 2007's strongest releases thus far, and definitely a release that'll be blasting from this reviewer's speakers for years to come.