Review Summary: Unremarkable, unnecessary, unoffensive.
I'm fully aware the word is "inoffensive," but I wanted to get the un- motif, okay" Okay.
Six Feet Under has always been something akin to getting a meal at Sheetz for me (if you live up in the right area). Of course it's kinda trash, but it's pretty damn satisfying a lot of the time. I rather like the more "rock and roll" death metal vibe that SFU pumps out, and after liking pretty much everything from Undead onward, I was pretty stoked to see a new album pop up on my list.
Allllllll right, so. This is a compilation of unreleased tracks from the Undead/Unborn/Torment sessions (no Crypt for some reason), and Chris Barnes has stated proudly in interviews that "the songs are all in their rawest and earliest form." Now, listening to SFU in general is kind of a crap shoot to begin with. There aren't a ton of bands that have a disparity that wide between their best and worst material, so the idea of pulling out all the songs that didn't make the cut definitely puts one on edge and while some of these tracks are pretty damn good, it's obvious that there was a reason they weren't featured on their respective album.
I admit, I was ready to give this a flat 1.0 from the opening track. Violent Blood Eruption has some of the most garbage production I have ever heard in death metal. It is absolutely atrocious. Zero bass to the mix whatsoever, and not in a cool black metal Paysage D'Hiver way, more like the guy producing it was using a set of Beats and tried to make it sound balanced with them. The song is bland to begin with (surprise!) so garbage production makes it a legitimately unpleasant listen. The second track is... slightly better, but weirdly hollow and still thin sounding despite the bass being present. The production bounces around throughout, but is at least passable outside of, for some reason, the last track. I have no idea why they bookended this album with the worst-sounding songs, but there you go.
Reviewing a SFU under almost feels like a formality, because in terms of songcraft they're about as meat and potatoes as it gets. Every song has a basic stomp to it, midpaced compositions with very few frills, but again that's the reason I've always liked them. When Gore Hungry Maniac kicks in, that old feeling of fun and simple death metal kicks in again. It's worth saying that Barnes' vocals are as torched and barely functional as ever, but again. Part of the charm. Some might say they conflict with the music, I say they complement it. The only issue is that none of the songs give much reason for existing. Each one very much sounds like a b-side rather than a hidden gem. A compilation of unreleased tracks should be "we didn't have room for these awesome songs," not obvious chaff that got culled.
The only real standout is As the Dying Scream, which was composed by Jeff Hughell, the bassist from Brain Drill and other really off-kilter tech death projects. It doesn't sound nearly that off-kilter, but it has enough variety to make it stand out from the pack in a good way. Other than that, there's just no need for this to exist.