I tend to struggle somewhat with the death metal genre often for its tendency to be repetitive/uninventive and Six Feet Under’s latest album Nightmares of the Decomposed (released October 2nd 2020 on Metal Blade Records) is a whole lot of both those things. I don’t feel like I’ll have a whole lot more to say on this one but let’s have at it.
Nightmares of the Decomposed more like nightmares of the poorly composed! This album does not sit well with me. We have riffs that are standardized death metal guitar parts at this stage and drums that leave a lot to be desired, with a snare that sounds waaaay to pingy and marching drum-like. The vocals, often the centerpiece of death metal, as they are here, are borderline comedic. And yes, I say all this knowing full well that there are some notable names in this project. Vocalist Chris Barnes was formerly in Cannibal Corpse, there are members of Death and Obituary on this project, but I’m taking a hard stance here; this album is the big time stink. Barnes’ vocals leave much to be desired. The classic gnarl from past projects seems a little distant here; check out “The Noose,” and you’ll see that maybe there’s still a hashing out process to be had.
I know the appeal of death metal, and much of it is shock value. I purchased Cannibal Corpses Live Cannibalism when I was seventeen based on the cover alone. And well…what seventeen-year-old doesn’t want to hear what a song called “I Cum Blood” sounds like? The problem I have with Nightmares of the Decomposed is that any shock value attempt falls utterly flat. And without boundary pushing, musicality is an absolute necessity. “Drink Blood Get High” ok, kinda funny, sort of grooves for a second, but it’s simply not enough to warrant my undivided attention. Some points are to be had here on technical prowess; it takes tons of fucking dexterity to do the death metal thang. The riffs are worthy of the shred master tag, the bpm’s a clear indicator that we have a proficient drummer on our hands. It’s just not enough to warrant a higher score from myself.
I’ll leave this one to the die-hards only. If you’re not an avid servant of death metal, search for your kicks someplace else.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate