Six Feet Under Death Rituals

Six Feet Under Death Rituals
As maligned as Six Feet Under have been in reviews of their first 12 releases (including one of metal's only indie label box sets), lucky 13 breaks the mould. Opener "Death by Machete" could be from a totally different band, with its acoustic intro, densely packed growls, tasteful solos and palpable atmosphere of dread. The second track, "Involuntary Movement of Dead Flesh," brandishes more typical SFU trappings but the album as a whole deviates from familiar territory. Front-man Chris Barnes sounds more sub-guttural than ever and guitarist Steve Swanson works diligently to raise the bar with more brutal riffs - reference his particularly wailing solo in "None Will Escape." A slew of cuts offer more diversity than previous releases: "Seed of Filth" and "Killed in Your Sleep" provide extra viscosity; "Shot in the Head" is prefaced by a creepy phone message; and Barnes performs solo on the techno doom vignette "Crossroads to Armageddon." A cover of the Mötley Crüe chestnut "Bastard" is interesting but unnecessary, as SFU expand their boundaries with an album that's outside of their death-riddled comfort zone. (Metal Blade)