Six Feet Under make it very clear that more than 25 years into their career, they remain at the forefront of the death metal. Dynamic, heavy-as-hell, catchy, and uncompromising, it is everything that the band’s longtime faithful have come to expect from these giants. The band members are Chris Barnes (vocals), Jack Owen (rhythm and lead guitar), Ray Suhy (lead guitar), Jeff Hughell (bass), and Marco Pitruzzella (drums). Sticking to their gory and dark musical themes, Nightmares of the Decomposed will keep their fans hooked with catchy groove-inspired riffs as filthy as the rotted corpse catacombs that fuel their dreams.
What actually endears me to this album is the use of sludge and doom rhythms that are rife throughout. It has an almost Crowbar-type of vibe. Check out the guitar work on songs such as “Zodiac”, “The Rotting” and “Migraine”; there’s groove in the music and some glorious guitar solos shine forth. Overall, the songs are slowed down and doomy, yet still retain the crushing death metal within the lyrics and vocals. I’m seeing alot of criticism on Barnes’ vocals but it magnifies what the band are trying to do here. If only we would let bands in metal progress and experiment a little without such harsh criticism. These types of changes require you to sit still with the entire work, perhaps not just a once over but let it sink in and then be the judge.
There are some faster tracks, such as “Amputator”, “Blood of the Zombie” and “Drink Blood Get High” where the music is more extreme and punishing, and it has a tremendous underground quality to it. Some of the music sounds primitive (think Soulfly). Those touches make the songs less straightforward, more complex and interesting.
The album closer, “Without Your Life.” is decent enough, but I usually base the closer song as a summary of sorts of an entire work. We could have done without all the pig squeals. It’s an interesting effect, but as of late, way too overused especially in the grindcore realm.
Perhaps another album or two in the future will more fully disclose where the band is going with their sound. For now, I appreciate the horror-fueled lyrics that expectedly revolve around murders and other such gore. Brutality and depravity remain present, and Six Feet Under continue to sculpt the ravenous death metal soundscape.
Nightmares of the Decomposed is out now on Metal Blade Records. Buy it here!