Six Feet Under - _Death Rituals_
(Metal Blade Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
With names like Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel all set to release new platters in the next twelve months, you could hypothesize that Six Feet Under elected to put their foot on the gas with their latest effort in order to avoid being overshadowed by their compatriots. Whatever the reason, the turnaround on _Death Ritual_ does seem awfully quick after 2007's _Commandment_ -- and unsurprisingly it shows. Much like the other forgettable entries into the Six Feet Under lexicon (_True Carnage_ and _13_ being the two prime suspects), regression seems to be the operative noun here. Songs like "Death by Machete" and "None Will Escape" maintain their predecessor's level of simplicity, but when presented devoid of any hooks whatsoever feel like the work of a band-in-training rather than genre stalwarts. Meanwhile, Chris Barnes appears to have matched his rumoured distaste for touring with a healthy disinterest in the recording process. Sizable portions of the album's lyrics are only barely enunciated, Barnes sounding less like a pissed-off grizzly and more like an old man gargling a pint of Listerine.Of course, it's practically a given that my assessment of _Death Rituals_ will be dismissed as the ranting of a "hater" by Six Feet Under's legion of fans. But, to close this review, I do have to pose the question: if these guys were vying for a record deal, would an effort like this pull them across the line? Honestly? I don't think so.
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