Chris Barnes gets the band almost back on track with simple and consistent pummeling
It’s been so long since Six Feet Under released a few songs worthy of my ears that this feels right. SFU, with their new lineup, take things back to how they were on the first three albums, and throw in a few riffs that could have been on Cannibal Corpse‘s early work. 18 Days, for example. The band sounds in control even as vocalist Chris Barnes starts barking midway as if to protect his weed from pesky stray dogs in the lane.
Barnes, revered for the phenomenal growling he did as the first vocalist of Cannibal Corpse, is now also known for his poor singing on and the silly lyrics he wrote for Six Feet Under‘s last many albums. He sounds just fine singing about his ‘victims’ and their state (missing, lifeless, raped, limbless and other such joyful conditions) and not so fine ranting against anti-drug laws and the criminalization of marijuana users (even if we consider Victim Of The Paranoid one of SFU‘s better songs). He sounds so comfortable singing about how he feels free to kill on Blood On My Hands that you believe the pothead has a fantasy of murdering and getting away with it.
Most of the songs on Undead are not even worth a second listen unless you’re a big fan of Six Feet Under. The album wants to go death n’ roll but doesn’t stop trying to be CC of the Barnes era. The guy must be stoned all the time if he can’t tell how bad his highs (we’re talking about his singing) are, and not even a three-year-old would be scared by the way he goes “Eeeee!”. SFU‘s early work showed an effort at songwriting: it was groovy and catchy as fuck, with Barnes vomiting golden lines like, “I pull your insides out through your lipless mouth.”
It’s weird that the new lineup hasn’t made all that much of a difference to Six Feet Under‘s output. Still, Undead is not as bad as you’d expect a new album from SFU to be, and would be likable if it wasn’t such a disjointed effort. Oh, maybe I shouldn’t use words like ‘disjointed’, for they might make Barnes rasp all the way to the studio for another bong hit.