Review Summary: A surprisingly good album from a band that gets so often maligned in the death metal circles
Few extreme metal bands are as often criticized and looked down upon as Chris Barnes second major band, Six Feet Under. From their inception onward, they have been ridiculed for the simplistic riffing and rapidly deteriorating vocal performances from Barnes, which seem to have only gotten worse over the many albums the have recorded now. However, of the bunch, one stands out as being slightly better than the rest. Instead of being an absolute cesspit of recycled Obituary riffs and unimaginative songs, Maximum Violence stands proud as being considered the best in the band's discography, due to its more graphic lyrics and overall better performance from the band than on their other albums.
The most obvious thing about this release is that Chris Barnes is not young any more. The amount of marijuana he smokes coupled with the vast number of years in the business have crippled his voice so that his growls sound overly breathy and his weird shrieks that occurred on his last two Cannibal Corpse albums are far more present and annoying here than ever before. However, something about his vocal patterns on this album makes him slightly more tolerable than on their other albums. For instance, on the song Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane, Chris attempts a style of rapped growls which, whilst sounding cheesy and completely ridiculous, they do have a memorable feel to them and will stick in the listeners head. Also, on fan favorite No Warning Shot, Barnes manages to simultaneously create one of the most laughable and one of the catchiest moments in death metal during the chorus, with the low growl of "Die Mother F*cker" followed by the raspy scream of "Die,Die!" It is very absurd but undeniably catchy enough. The lyrics on this album are considerably more graphic in their depictions of violence than previous Six Feet Under releases, but this works well with Barnes vocals, and is one of the things he has become famous for.
The guitar work on here once again sounds like a second rate Obituary clone, with many of the riffs being extremely simplistic but having a crunchy, heavy groove to them that makes them sound so sweet. Unfortunately, they do nothing new, with the guitarist instead re-hashing his past work instead of attempting anything fresh. However, for what it is, this album boasts some decent enough guitar work, with some cool drumming and thundering bass behind it. This is a straight death metal album instrumentally, with some speedy soloing to finish it all off.
Torture Killer and album opener Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane are definitely the choice cuts here, with the former being a graphic song that is possibly the darkest song Barnes has done since his CC days. Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane is a groove-ridden song with some nice enough vocal work and a few great riffs to top it off. Maximum Violence is definitely Six Feet Under's best album, and it is impossible to help but notice that this band really does not deserve all the hate they get.