Six Feet Under are staples of the death metal scene. Everyone knows that singer Chris Barnes fronted the legendary Cannibal Corpse at one time, and he contributed to some of their most famous songs and albums. Started as a side project, Six Feet Under became his lifeline upon leaving Cannibal Corpse in 1995. Since that time, he has churned out some of the most brutal albums in this genre. I really enjoyed their last two releases, Unborn and Undead, and I looked forward to hearing what Barnes would do on Crypt of the Devil.
He and Phil “Landphil” Hall (Cannabis Corpse) did all of the songwriting for this album. The rest of Cannabis Corpse also Served as the studio band for this album. It is less groove-oriented than the last album, but it takes on a more technical approach similar to the early Cannibal Corpse albums. Subjects for songs haven’t changed in all these years, and it features titles such as “Broken Bottle Rape,” “Slit Wrists,” “Stab” and “Open Coffin Orgy.” Barnes’ vocals are as raw as ever, but at times, he seems to be a bit out of time, almost like he can’t keep up. This is a minor thing, though.
“Gruesome” opens up with a vengeance. It’s razor-sharp and punishing. “Open Coffin Orgy” is destined for a classic in Six Feet Under’s live show, and Brandon Ellis’ guitar solos here and throughout the album are no less than epic. “Break The Cross in Half” is a mid-paced, all-out assault. Nothing is held back here, folks! “Lost Remains” reminds me the most of old Cannibal Corpse and it is a killer song with a killer riff. “Slit Wrists” follows the same type of formula, and it’s crushing!
Chris Barnes keeps it interesting with his constant live and studio line-up changes. It definitely works for him, and it keeps the band from sounding stale. Crypt of the Devil is a good album, but the production falls a bit flat for me. It’s almost muddy at times. While it doesn’t quite hold up to his last two releases, it has its share of shining moments with individual songs.
Crypt of the Devil is out May 5 on Metal Blade Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):