Chris Barnes and Six Feet Under return with their seventeenth(!) full-length album, Nightmares Of The Decomposed, which is set for release on 2nd October 2020 via Metal Blade Records.
You know what to expect, right? Filthy ass grooves and lyrics revolving around violence, gore and death. Even Jack Owen (ex-Cannibal Corpse) is in the band – which is great! However, there is simply no getting past an insurmountable issue which will surely be addressed in every review of Nightmares of the Decomposed.
Chris Barnes’ vocals are shot. To shit.
They’re weak, uninspired and completely lacking in power. The man is a death metal legend but he is clearly a shadow of his former self and the impact this has on the album is indisputable. There are moments where he drops a Cartman-esque bree into the mix which is laughable and, if not an inside joke, slightly worrying as to why this ‘sound’ would be deemed an appropriate replacement for a formidable vocal performance.
While the dirty grooves of “The Noose” and “Blood of the Zombie” are convincing and catchy enough, there’s just something missing throughout; as though SFU have fallen into a state of apathy and lethargy akin to Chris Barnes’ vocal chords.
It’s unclear if Six Feet Under are playing games with us or if this really is the state of play circa 2020. If that’s the case, there are worrying times ahead for the band as their talismanic frontman is clearly in need of new lungs. This review pains us as we’re actually fans of Six Feet Under and were hoping for an album to rival the likes of Undead and 13. Alas, it wasn’t to be and we’re left with material that will be forever marred by a beyond disappointing vocal performance.
Put it this way, if a new band came out sounding like this they’d be ridiculed remorselessly. The fact that this is the work of a bone fide death metal pioneer means some leniency is automatically adopted but there really is no excusing the overall mediocrity of Nightmares of the Decomposed.
So, no quarter given with our overall score. 4/10