Review Summary: Same old Six Feet Under, with a couple of friends.
Six Feet Under’s tenth studio record is a smashing display of perseverance on this very groove orientated brand of death metal. Considering that it’s been a whopping twenty years since the band’s inception Six Feet Under are still offering up the same old formula as the debut, and the result? You guessed it, utterly polarised by the genre as a whole. Despite being released a year after the band’s previous record, Undead
, Chris Barnes and co. are actually somehow moving forward without showing just how ridiculous there music can be. For the most part, Unborn
is as a solid enough a record as one could hope for, especially considering the lower parts of Six Feet Under’s catalogue. The inclusion of guest guitar work from ex-Chimaira, Whitechapel and Torture Killer allow Six Feet Under a more accessible and, in all honesty a tighter display of musical prowess when compared to their latest record. Even to the extent where Barnes’ growls benefit when layered over some of the smartest riffage the band has ever seen. Despite the usual stigma that comes with the band’s music, Unborn
has actually improved on the formula. No it’s not a mind-blowing experience, and it really hasn’t changed but, neither is the listener going to step in front of a moving freight train. Unborn
is definitely a step in the right direction for a band losing its viability on death metals world stage it’s only flaws comes in recycling of ideas and its boring presentation.
At the album’s core, it’s still very much a Six Feet Under record. Even with the guest appearances and revitalised soundscapes, Unborn
will occasionally slip into a mundane and generic affair of recycled vocal phrasing and run of the mill guitar/bass/vocal rhythmic patterns. Thankfully, these moments come and go and their effect on the album is only minimally detrimental. In the grand scheme of things, Six Feet Under have managed to release a catchy, moderately enjoyable death metal record without allowing the generic material to dominate this revitalised effort. Needless to say for a band on their tenth studio album, there is nothing that hints at revolutionary and backed by a rather clean polished production, Six Feet Under’s 2013 record makes for a steady albeit safe, death metal listen. More often than not there will be the solid beat that raises the question of whether this accessible groove orientated death metal is the way to go. Head banging sections are quite common over the length of the record, especially over the mid-paced to moderately fast tempos. There are some great tracks to be found over this eleven tracked, thirty-six minute affair. More often than not these tracks will either feature a guest guitarist or new to the band, Ola Englund whose added flair adds a newer dimension to Six Feet Under’s writing process and don’t really hint at what Six Feet Under have really brought to the table.
Granted, it’s far away from being the best death metal record of the decade but it does present the occasional solidness that will continue to see Six Feet Under’s name appear in various metal blogs and magazines. Much of the lyrical content remains the same from Chris Barnes, so there’s nothing new on the table as far as lyricism goes. That’s not to say, many weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary from this established death metal act. Unborn
may have an occasional laughable moment, but those are actually far and few between. Ten records within twenty years and Six Feet Under establish the fact that they can churn out some enjoyable death metal, unfortunately Unborn
just isn’t as good as the band would like to think.