Well, the masters of Sludge Metal are back with another fistful of flesh ripping tracks to set our ears afire.
As always, the musical offering by SIX FEET UNDER is a take or leave matter. I mean, the band made its choice right from the early beginning: the guys wanna be the most extreme thing into the gore-themed Death Metal-field. Whether they brilliantly achieved this goal or just became ludicrous, it's between you and your god. Therefore, there are people who praise them as the greatest Death-band ever and people who just plain hate 'em for the buffoons they're. Frankly, I put myself in the middle, 'cos although I think there are a lot of better bands in the genre, after all they're not horrible to such a degree.v So, here we have their latest effort "True Carnage", a work chiefly devoted to the typical SIX FEET UNDER-sound, but also retaining some new things respect their past production.
First and foremost, the songwriting is slightly more groove-oriented in regard to the past. The tracks are still crashing, mostly slow paced and low-tuned as hell, but also less static and monolithic. It's a relevant improvement to my eyes, 'cos it adds longevity to the whole record: tracks like "The Day The Dead Walked", "Waiting For Decay" and "Necrosociety" are notable all along. The musicianship has also been bettered; certainly SIX FEET UNDER isn't one of those impressive combos in terms of technicality, but to be fair the guitar-solo on the above mentioned second track is indeed effective, and you can find some valuable drumming moments interspersed through the album (e.g. the nice double-bass work on "It Never Dies"). Moreover, the production is really fitting in the creation of a specifically oppressive sound in order to torment the listener.
Haplessly, we also can notice some flaws.
The vocals are flat. Chris Barnes provides us with lower-than-hell growls which sometimes change into screeching shrieks, but they sound all the same. Perhaps this is due to the total absence of melody for the vocal lines, I don't know, by the way they turn into a cacophonic soup all the time, and that's bothersome. Plus, there are a few filler-tracks ("Knife, Gun, Axe" and "Snakes" are definitely boring) lessening the overall quality.
And so we come to the long argued duets, that is to say "One Bullet Left" featuring Ice T (BODY COUNT) and "Sick And Twisted" with Karyn Crisis of CRISIS-fame.
In this case too, it's a 50 percent hit. "One Bullet Left" is a lousy song they'd better left out from the record. Where is the melting between Death Metal and Gangsta Rap? (Death Rap? Gangsta Death? - Alex) It's just a poor quality Death Metal-track with rapped vocals, and please could anyone explain to me how this can be a good thing?
"Sick And Twisted" is instead the best track here, musically solid in itself and accompanied by an excellent (and really sick) vocal performance by Karyn.
In conclusion, the good things outweigh the defects, marking "True Carnage" as a respectable release.
Note: The CD has an enhanced section including a gory video for "The Day The Dead Walked".