Six Feet Under Commandment

Since front-man Chris Barnes left Cannibal Corpse over a decade ago, Six Feet Under have become quite the death metal institution, cranking out self-produced albums like clockwork every two years or so. Whereas 2004’s Graveyard Classics 2, on which Barnes and company covered AC/DC’s Back in Black in its entirety, could’ve been the band’s watershed, the quartet instead reverted to their former selves on 2005’s 13. Returning with album number 11, Commandment unfortunately doesn’t shake SFU’s "been there, done that” slump, though it does highlight some noteworthy outside-the-box moments. Opener "Doomsday” is easily the standout track. "Thou Shall Kill” and "Bled to Death” sport noteworthy Allen West-like solos from guitarist Steve Swanson, though they’re almost too buried in Barnes’s mix to be fully appreciated. "Resurrection of the Rotten” and "Ghosts of the Undead,” however, brandish two of Swanson’s best solos yet. The lyrics of "The Edge of the Hatchet” are so chock-a-block in each verse that the song teeters under their weight, and "As the Blade Turns” and "The Evil Eye” don’t exactly smash SFU’s reliable mould. Unlike their closest influences — Obituary, Grave, Sinister and Dismember — Six Feet Under are obviously more comfortable making mediocre, mid-paced death metal and Commandment shows no signs of the band slowing down or deviating from their well-worn path. (Metal Blade)