Alan West's leaving Six Feet Under has left quite an impact on the band. New guitarist, ex-Massacre axeman Steve Swanson, is not a worse or better guitar player, but he just lacks West's gift for creating slowly thundering riffs that are simple yet cool. West was the factor that made sure Six Feet Under sounded a lot like Obituary, and I liked Obituary.

So now Six Feet Under no longer sounds like Obituary. In fact, they seem to have gone a bit more in the direction of vocalist Chris Barnes' previous band, Cannibal Corpse. There are some more up-tempo songs, which in fact cause Six Feet Under to sound, well, almost young and fresh. Young and fresh, that is, in a totally decomposedly gory way, of course, because Barnes has reverted to his trademark "Hammer-Smashed Face"-style lyrics. Bits like "Die Motherfucker, die, die!" and "Kill, kill, kill, I wanna kill them all!" should illustrate that sufficiently. No lyrics were supplied with the promo, so I am sure I didn't actually get most of it and there'll be plenty of gory gems to discover. Barnes hasn't just returned to his subject matter of old, his singing style has too. On "Warpath" he often used to end sentences with a clean-like style, which I didn't like that much. None of that now. Just heart-felt grunting and screams arising from the pits of his bowels.

The album features a Kiss cover entitled "War Machine", whereas the limited edition digipak version also has Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" and Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" covered. Should be interesting to see what they made of those classics.



Written May 1999


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