By Reverend Justito at 9:26 AM Wednesday, March 13th 2013
When a band announces plans to release multiple albums over a short period of time, the results are often disastrous. When that news comes well after most feel the band hit their creative peak, it’s even harder to swallow. That is the exact position Chris Barnes found himself in less than 18 months ago. Yet, with the release of a second Six Feet Under album in less than a year, Barnes and company are the rare exception to the rule, as the soon to be released Unborn manages to top last year’s return to relevance, Undead.
Once again, enlisting the help of Ben Savage (Whitechapel) and Jari Lane (Torture Killer), Unborn finds the signature snarl of Barnes backed by a dark, pummeling musical backdrop. Where past Six Feet Under recordings including 13 and Commandment featured uninspired playing that went stale long before the album’s first listen was complete, Unborn features some of the most passionate playing found on a Six Feet Under record to date.
Opening with Neuro Osmosis, the group takes a page from the Master of Puppets playbook as a lush acoustic introduction gives way to sheer aggression. By the time Barnes starts screaming about open sores, the song already feels like a good old fashion dismemberment by horse as the instrumentation takes you one way and the vocals take you another. With Barnes recently sharing his hopes that this album makes you “wish you were never born,” Neuro Osmosis is a damn fine start.
The album continues with the highly melodic call to arms, Prophecy. The song plays more like a hardcore song compared to the gory death metal we have grown accustomed to with Six Feet Under. It’s hard not to picture fans chanting the chorus Never Going To Let Them Kill Us, Never Going To Give Up Fighting, Never Going To Give In And Listen, Never Going To Let Them Take It as huge circle pits swirl in the live setting.
Speaking of circle pits, there are plenty of songs on Unborn designed to allow fans to experience that primal release when the band performs live. From the gut wrenching growls of Decapitate to the crusty punk riffs of Incision, it’s hard to sit still when listening to these songs. Alive To Kill You is another song where a huge chorus opens up and feels like it was designed to help a bunch of sweaty males blow steam off by bashing into each other.
One of the best aspects of the album is the mild tweaks that have been made to the overall Six Feet Under sound. A perfect example comes in the first single Zombie Blood Curse. Yes, it is still a hard hitting death metal anthem. Yet, with a blues driven mid section with a slow building solo reminiscent of Chris Haskett’s work with Rollins Band, Barnes and company have once again set themselves apart from the rest of the death metal wolf pack.
The double shot of The Sinister Craving and Inferno are two more songs that further propel Six Feet Under into dark, uncharted waters. Clocking in at just over two minutes, The Sinister Craving feels as if it could be found on a Whitechapel record before slowly fading into the dark bass grooves of Inferno. As Barnes screams about being set free by fire, the band reaches new depths of low end fury that will no doubt shake the walls of your house.
With both Undead and Unborn, Chris Barnes with the help of a few friends has brought Six Feet Under back from the very place their name describes. While the lyrics may not be as disturbing as those Barnes wrote when he fronted Cannibal Corpse, there is still plenty of gross out moments to be had. The riffs are melodic while remaining muggy and thick like the weather of their native Florida. While the album may be called Unborn, thankfully for death metal fans it completes the rebirth of one of the genres most animated characters.