Six Feet Under - _Commandment_
(Metal Blade Records, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (5.5 out of 10)
Before we can even dig into the bare bones of Six Feet Under's latest effort, let's not lose sight of one very crucial fact: labelling _Commandment_ the greatest thing that the band have put out since _Maximum Violence_ doesn't exactly say a hell of a lot. 2001's _True Carnage_ wasn't an especially stellar release, to not even mention the sonic train wrecks that were _Bringer of Blood_ and _13_.

Be that as it may, the ninth instalment in the Six Feet Under discography sees the band mercifully slipping back into a creative repose and churning out the sort of death 'n' roll that -- by turns, at least -- they've proven to be rather adept at delivering in the past. What that means, for starters, is that Chris Barnes' political pontificating has been laid to rest for the time being. More importantly, songs like "The Evil Eye", "As the Blade Turns" and "Resurrection of the Rotten" sport enough of a groove to at least be called entertaining. It doesn't hurt that the lo-fi production of the last few records has been jettisoned in favour of an altogether chunkier and more hard-hitting sound, either.

Still, for all the thousands of superior entrants to the genre (Barnes' own Torture Killer included), you can't help but wonder just how this quartet ever managed to scale the heights of popularity that they did to begin with. Between riffs so austere that even the most tonally challenged could have dreamt them up, to the threadbare horror lyrics, _Commandment_ isn't much more than Six Feet Under operating on auto-pilot. Hardened fans will likely lap it up as if it were the second coming; anyone else will respond with mild amusement at best.


(article published 1/5/2007)

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