Six Feet Under – Nightmares of the Decomposed – Album Review
A nightmare for those who love death metal!
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
Man it’s not just the tone (or lack there of) of his vocal, but from what I heard it’s the timing and phrasing as well. Sad.
Spot on mate. He’s a spent force. Very sad.
It’s depressing to see Chris’s vocal decline. You can’t expect someone to have the same voice and creative ability as they did 30 years ago, but the drop in quality is the worst I’ve ever seen of any vocalist.
Sad but true mate, sad but true!
If it is still possible, they should go back and edit the album, take out all the vocal tracks and get a guest vocalist to record their parts on it if Chris’ vocal chords don’t recover or improve. I’m not dissing Barnes’ vocals or lyrics at all, it just seems like he hasn’t had time to rest his voice. If he did what Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P did, which was not speak for 4-7 weeks as recommended by an LA vocal therapist, there is a chance he could get his tone back vocally. The other thing here is that if himself and the band collectively decided that these vocals were fine and used as the final mix on the album, then despite if one or all of them disagreed with the final vocals, Chris would have put them on anyway as it seems he is the head frontman in the group after all.
if someone like Ross Dolan or Martin van Drunen did the vocals, this would probably be a 6 or 7 (the 4 you gave is VERY generous)