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Six Feet Under: Undead

18/05/12  ||  Cobal

Although I’ve always enjoyed most dissonant and chaotic technical death metal acts such as Suffocation or Nile for instance, I also appreciate bands that sacrifice part of their potential brutality for the sake of catchiness. In the end, good ol’rock ‘n’ roll songs had it all, didn’t they? I’m positive that’s exactly the kind of logic that groovier rocker metal musicians follow when writing their shit. That’s also the reason why Chris Barnes leading SFU receives my attention whenever releasing new stuff.

Know something starting right now: not everybody hates SFU for not being Cannibal Corpse, nor for the lots of heavy metal and rock covers they’ve put out over the years. Au contraire, some of us have actually dug those ones. But I ain’t to discuss anything to do with covers here, as “Undead” consists on twelve DM new tracks. In Barnes’ himself words, “I’m super excited about the new record. It’s a rejuvenation…”, so let’s see.

May I say the term rejuvenation appears to me as an exaggeration (it rhymes!), as what one can listen at first is a back to the basics record withdrawing back to a very traditional form of death metal. First six tracks encompass simpleton riffs and super bass growls as expected in almost any DM release… 20 years ago. Like it or not, I don’t think this qualifies as a new youth for this veterans.

As to me, the album is divided into two, although this is just a personal view; as said above, first six tracks are quite conventional death metal, which DOESN’T mean at all they’re bad, just… conventional, while tracks 7-12 sound much more like groovy death ‘n’ roll songs, and therefore, catchier and less aggressive. You just need to listen to the opening riff for “Reckless”, and you’ll know exactly what to expect from the rest of the album.

Perhaps the only thing that’s sort of new here, and perhaps again it has to do with the addition of guitar player Rob Arnold, bass player Jeff Hughell, and drummer Kevin Talley, who all together add a certain air of technicality truly new in a S.F.U. record. In the guitar department, it’s more evident that whoever of the two spent some more time writing and arranging figures, and choosing the right pedal effect for each one.

So, is “Undead” a must record this year? Maybe not, yet it’s quite enjoyable. Simply put, if you’ve hated Barnes ever since kicked out from CC, SFU’s clear tendency to play catchy DM tunes, and their previous releases, you’re gonna hate this one too; if you haven’t, it might be a good idea to check it out. If you asked me, I’d say it’s exactly the kind of record I would listen while having a cold beer. By the by, I’m having one of those at the moment, so…


My fave song? I almost forgot! “Delayed Combustion Device” it is.


  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Website:
  • Band
  • Chris Barnes: vocals
  • Steve Swanson: guitars
  • Rob Arnold: guitars
  • Jeff Hughell: bass
  • Kevin Talley: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Frozen At the Moment of Death
  • 02. Formaldehyde
  • 03. 18 Days
  • 04. Molest Dead
  • 05. Blood On My Hands
  • 06. Missing Victims
  • 07. Reckless
  • 08. Near Death Experience
  • 09. The Scar
  • 10. Delayed Combustion Device
  • 11. Vampire Apocalypse
  • 12. The Depths of Depravity