Six Feet Under – Crypt Of The Devil (2015) – Whether you love or hate them, Six Feet Under is back with yet another album, Crypt Of The Devil. Now I’ll be honest, my first Six Feet Under disc was the infamous Bringer Of Blood, which had literally the laziest set of lyrics that I think I’ve ever seen used in a death metal song to date. (See the title cut from that album for more details on that.) But as for this one, it’s definitely a step up from Bringer Of Blood.
One of my colleagues noticed that Chris Barnes seems to be lacking in the harsh vocal grunts and noted “he just can’t do it anymore” but I’m not really noticing that, at least for the most part. There might be a few moments where the vocals aren’t quite as strong, but I think that fans of his work will still find his gurgly grunts just as gore-infested as ever. Though what really stands out on this album (to me at least) is Steve Swanson, who’s really stepped his game up after Rob Arnold and Ola Englund had both bowed out of the act.
Swanson of course has played on everything from Maximum Violence to Death Rituals (one of my personal favorite Six Feet Under albums) and he more than makes his presence known here. The man clearly knows his death metal and more than proves it on this disc. He throws in a ton of crunch and groove, as well as some rather worthy solos which you’re going to hear exploding throughout the course of the record.
New drummer Marco Pitruzzela (Anomalous, Neurogenic, Abuse, ex-Brain Drill) takes over the kit like it’s just another day at the office and manages to pummel out a few worthwhile hits every now and again, even though I’ll say that he does play a little more relaxed than we should hear for a death metal album.
It’s a good thing that former Rings Of Saturn bassist Jeff Hughell (Reciprocal) knows how to bring a blunt edge to these tunes or you’d scarcely be listening to a death metal record at all. Let’s not forget about the technicalities employed, which do tend to differentiate things a little bit from the band’s last outing. I personally didn’t care for Unborn (but MA apparently had a Twilight Zone moment and gave it a 76% which is actually higher than some of the band’s classic records, like Maximum Violence and the Haunted debut) and I had almost thought it a Swanson for the band altogether. Yet I’m glad to see that these guys were able to wipe the dust off and give it another go in the tombs.
Barnes might have a little bit of cottonmouth these days, but he still manages to bite like a copperhead and that’s where I feel the album ultimately delivers. If you’re looking for a record that sounds like it was made in the nineties heyday of death metal, albeit with some obvious modernisms, than you might just find a gruesome gourmet on this album. While it’s not as groundbreaking to me as Undead, there’s still enough intrigue to be found here and there, even though it’s still just another drop in the bucket for them.
Grab a shovel and dig up this corpse if you want to hear what Barnes sounds like reunited with Swanson, which is ultimately the main selling point here. It’s definitely worth a listen based on that factor alone.
(10 Tracks, 36:00)
To stream Six Feet Under, click on the album art to go to their Soundcloud page.