Death Rituals [Clear & Black Splatter Vinyl]

Six Feet Under

(LP - Back on Black #BOBV 893LPLTD)

Review by James Christopher Monger

Often touted as the last true practitioners of "pure American death metal," Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes' 1995 side project has blossomed into a full-time career. On its eighth full-length recording, Six Feet Under does little to ruffle the feathers of the genre it helped to define over the last ten years, but the band's pragmatic, unfussy approach to brutality demands respect, even if it fails to encourage repeated listens. Death Rituals is tight, compact, and blissfully free of muddy reverb and ten-minute epics (anyone wondering what a doom-laden, black metal-ized Motörhead fronted by an "Orc" would sound like, check out "Bastard"). It's also a hastily recorded slab of meat that didn't hang on the hook long enough, but despite an opening quartet of cuts that could have been scraped off of the floor of any old Metal Blade recording session, Death Rituals dabbles in enough unpredictable time signatures "Seed of Filth") and song structures ("Crossroads to Armageddon") that step outside of the standard aggro-metal, kneecap remover template to save itself.