There’s no doubting Six Feet Under’s significance to the death metal world. With an extensive contribution and library to the death metal canon, how can you not be excited when they release a new album? And I have personally been missing a good dose of death metal in my life recently. So I was all the more ready to listen to Undead, and I’m sure my reactions will probably reflect those of other fans listening to Undead for the first time.
The best thing about Undead is how truly Six Feet Under it is. With this being their 9th studio album, you might expect their sound to have shifted a bit into some sort of new direction. But the moment you play the first song, “Frozen at the Moment of Death”, you know this is the Six Feet Under that you know very well and love. Unrelenting double picking joined with aggressive double bass immediately start Undead immediately shoving death metal down your throat. But of course, the groove aspect of Six Feet Under is still there. It’s not always a speeding contest in Undead, but more like a “groovy display of power”, if you will. Steve Swanson and Rob Arnold (the latter of which is no longer with the band) do a great job of keeping the brutality and death metal atmosphere throughout the whole album even at slow to mid-tempos. Also, the new addition of veteran Kevin Talley on drums doesn’t hurt the band at all. His tight double bass and blast beats maintain the intensity throughout Undead on songs like “Near Death Experience.” And of course, it would not be Six Feet Under without the one and only, Chris Barnes. His extremely guttural growls and occasional raspy screams are ever-present and is a major driving force in Undead. And the lyrics are as Chris Barnes-esque as ever, full of graphic imagery and violence. It really just goes to show how not much has changed for the band even at this point in their career, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Basically, everything about Undead is everything we continue to love about Six Feet Under. If you weren’t already familiar with Six Feet Under, Undead wouldn’t be such a bad introduction. It might give you something different to chew on than death metal that only concerns itself with being faster than the rest. And of course, if you are a Six Feet Under fan, you probably already have the album and have listened to it multiple times. They are one of the major dynamos of the death metal world, and judging from Undead, they are not losing that title anytime soon.