Album Review: Six Feet Under – Undead
Posted by Reggie
If it hadn’t been for a few recent lineup changes, I probably wouldn’t have been that excited about Six Feet Under’s new album, Undead. I would have bought whatever they released as the dedicated fan I am, though it probably would have been more of the same repetitive groove-driven riffs, deep growls, and occasional double-bass I could count on. Enter both (former) Chimaira guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries and now I am most interested (note – DeVries on bass already left and was replaced by Jeff Hughell). Undead is the album we have all wanted to hear from Barnes and Co. Why? It is Death metal just like the old days of the first three SFU albums – more or less, which is a good thing. However, Arnold being in the band doesn’t necessarily mean the introduction of longer and more melodic guitar solos. In fact, most of the songs barely scratch the 3-minute surface.
The 41-minute album (too short) begins with Frozen at the Moment of Death; a great introduction that emphasizes the new life you would hope to hear on Six Feet Under’s 9th studio album. It has a bit of everything you would expect from the opening song, but introduces more ferocity accompanied by random blast beats; something Six Feet Under always used sparingly. Formaldehyde continues shredding in its Death metal glory. 18-Days is more of the standard Six Feet Under slow grinding rhythm they promote and are known for. The song does pick up a bit to a nice headbanging cadence before being injected with blast beats and more technical guitar work than you would expect from most Death metal bands – thank you Rob Arnold!
The album comes off strong before leveling off in the mid-section. A couple of songs seemed more of a standardized Six Feet Under recipe, but strength is regained towards the end with Reckless and Delayed Combustion Device; both heavy and headbanging songs that will induce and sustain worthy mosh pits. Hearing Undead lived up to my expectations which had risen considerably knowing Rob Arnold and drummer Kevin Talley joined the band. As you probably know, Arnold was the longtime lead guitarist for Chimaira and Kevin Talley has hit the skins for several bands including Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Chimaira, and Daath to name a few. Talley has also filled in for DevilDriver, The Red Chord, Hate Eternal, Suffocation, and The Black Dahlia Murder for tour support.
Arnold & Talley being in the band is a breath of fresh air. Overall, the album is signature Six Feet Under with a much-needed edge compared to their last several albums. Undead is a more ferocious-than-lately SFU album, but isn’t something unrecognizable. Arnold and Talley did not turn Six Feet Under into a Thrash band. They conformed to the standards that make Six Feet Under’s style of Death metal what it is, but added some…rougher edges. I think at this point and after nearly two decades, Six Feet Under got a nice kick in the ass; just what the doctor ordered!