Death Rituals by Six Feet Under
Release date : November 2008
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
By late December 2007, it had been announced that Six Feet Under would enter rehearsal space, and begin to pen the group's tenth studio album. In May 2008, the group entered Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida to begin cutting the full length. Longtime collaborator Chris Carroll helped vocalist Chris Barnes to lay down his parts at the Hit Factory Criteria in Miami, whilst Bill Metoyer (who has produced material for the likes of Slayer, Morbid Angel, Flotsam & Jetsam, Sacred Reich, Corrosion of Conformity, and W.A.S.P.) helped Greg Gall to record his drum contributions. To record their parts, bassist Terry Butler and guitarist Steve Swanson used KXK guitars. During early June, it was revealed that Barnes's vocal tracks were completed. Meanwhile, mixing duties were handled by Toby Wright. In early September, Death Rituals was unveiled as the album's title. Additionally, the album's artwork surfaced, with its track listing arriving later in the month.
In later October, the track “Seed of Filth” was made available for streaming via Six Feet Under's official MySpace page. On October 31st at Gasoline Alley in Largo, Florida, the outfit filmed a music video in support of the number, a show that was dubbed the group's only 2008 live appearance in the United States. In early November, “Involuntary Movement Of Dead Flesh” was available for listening via the group's MySpace page.
If you took delight in Six Feet Under's previous material, then you'll love Death Rituals. Chris Barnes is a man you either love, or hate. Whether the discussion pertains to the vocalist's material as part of Cannibal Corpse, or as part of Six Feet Under, the man's low, guttural bark is as unique as any voice that lies within Metal's mainstream. As soon as those chords arrive within their murkily violent surroundings, they provoke an immediate response. Upon a yearly basis almost, Barnes proves why he happens to be the lone innovator of North American Death Metal.
Gorgeously introduced, the explosive “Death by Machete” inaugurates Death Rituals. Boasting a haunting ambience, the track subsequently drops a hatchet on the listener's unsuspecting neck (unless you happen to be a Six Feet Under fanatic, and are simply awaiting the album's imminent burst of violence). In all, “Death by Machete” sets the tone for all that comes to pass. Likely the heaviest tune the group has cut in several years, “Involuntary Movement of Dead Flesh” follows, and Barnes never wavers from his unnervingly low register. Highlights arrive in the form of the groove-laden “Shot in the Head” (introduced courtesy of a psychotic answering message), and the almost stoner oriented “Seed of Filth”, recalling Six Feet Under's late nineties material. The album's swansong number, “Murder Addiction” epitomises Barnes' fascination with all that can be deemed violent.
Of Six Feet Under's material, this reviewer is a lukewarm fan. Whilst their works can be appreciated, those works are only lent several airings a year, and form a refresher course in the sound which Death Metal legends apply. Though irrefutably greater than 2007's Commandment, Death Rituals doesn't quite possess 13's (2005) spontaneity, or the element of surprise present within the likes of 1997's Warpath and 2001's True Carnage. Boasting a much rawer sound, Death Rituals exhibits Barnes at his greatest. After several minutes though, its chosen stylings wear thin, not to mention the full length's repetitive lyrical content. Should you enjoy Six Feet Under's material, Death Rituals' raw tones will prove a pleasant surprise. If you cannot appreciate Six Feet Under's past achievements, then Death Rituals would be an illogical purchase.