Three years ago Six Feet Under, which was initially started as Death Metal super-group, but in fact it’s Chris Barnes’ solo project for a long time, released their latest album Torment. Now, in 2020 the band prepared their 17-th album (or 13-th, if you don’t count four cover albums Graveyard Classics), named Nightmares Of The Decomposed.
There are some line-up changes in the band too: guitarist and former Barnes’ colleague Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse, ex-Deicide) joined Ray Suhy (guitar), Jeff Hughell (bass) and Marco Pitruzzella (drums). This gave some hope because, to put it politely, Torment became not the most interesting album from Six Feet Under but Jack could change a lot. “Working again after 25 years writing an album with my old band mate from Cannibal Corpse, Jack Owen, was like coming home…To a room full of dead bodies, – tells Chris, – Jack’s writing and riff work on this album gave me the fuel to write some disturbing lyrics and really set my creative mind on fire.”
Musically it’s not bad at all indeed. There are plenty of groove riffs, mighty bass and some decent solos as well and Marco delivers some interesting drum patterns. “The Noose” together with “Blood Of The Zombies” are probably the best songs in this album: the sounds brutal enough but at the same time they are catchy and memorable. “Drink Blood, Get High” sounds like a good headbanger, thanks to pummeling riff. The ending “Without Your Life” is going to some fast and technical Death Metal, and the opener “Amputator” also quite fast-paced and brutal sometimes. Furthermore, the first single “Zodiac” has some good drumming, groove and quite melodic solo.
But this works if you listen to the songs one by one, with a pausing between them, because as a solid piece, Nightmares Of The Decomposed sounds pretty monotonous. For example, “The Rotting” and the next one “Death Will Follow” coalesce into one song, while they have different main melodies, but monotonic riffs and same tempo didn’t do well for these songs.
Nevertheless, it’s not the worst part and we could live with it somehow. The main problem of this album is vocal. Yes, it’s that bad. Barnes doesn’t even sings with half of power; it’s some indistinct shadow of legendary Death Metal vocalist. At first I thought that it’s only my problem here, as usual, but when I read a couple of reviews, I understood that I’m not alone who think that way. It sounds the most miserable when Chris tries to switch growls to a pig squeal, which happens quite often here. And I kinda understand things: he’s not so young anymore and his lifestyle also takes its tall (4:20, yeah, Chris?), but anyway it is terribly disappointing.
If Nightmares Of The Decomposed was played by some other band, I would say with not even a little doubt that they try to copy Six Feet Under and it is not going so well. But it’s not, this is Six Feet Under‘s album.
There is an old movie, “Last Action Hero” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, very underrated in US but warmly welcomed in Ukraine, Belarus and other former USSR countries. This movie is a rare example of actor’s self-irony. And I really want to hope that Nightmares Of The Decomposed is the same case (after all, there is a clearly bantering “Dead Girls Don’t Scream”). Because if it’s all serious and this is Six Feet Under of 2020, then I have some bad news for all of us.
Nightmares Of The Decomposed will be released on October, 2 via Metal Blade Records.
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