Six Feet Under - TormentWhen it boils down to it, obtaining life experience is just learning how to identify a terrible idea before you’re fully committed, and then avoiding the inevitable shitstorm it would herald by simply not doing it. As anyone whose late teenage years were lost in a fog of Jägermeister and regret will tell you, lessons learned the hard way often stay with you the longest; fuck things up badly enough and you won’t repeat the same mistake again anytime soon. There are, however, a few hardy souls upon whom this principle is destined to be forever lost—people to whom common sense and reason are just meaningless buzzwords dreamt up by the establishment. People like Chris Barnes. If his irrepressible need to furnish the world with torpor-inducing death metal records is anything to go by, he will one day be remembered as the patron saint of poor decisions. Even in 2017, as he gracefully bounds into middle-age like some hideous, dreadlocked Bambi, Barnes’ commitment to churning out a glut of obstinate disappointments shows no signs of letting up, and his newest release with Six Feet Under has possibly the most appropriate title yet: Torment.

Now before the peasants begin to revolt, I know there are multiple brains behind the band (unbelievably), but the most one-dimensional vocalist in metal is the glue that holds them all together, so as far as I’m concerned, the blame for this sorry mess lies squarely at his feet. Torment follows the same formula as much of the rest of 6FU’s recent discography, which is to say that it’s marginally more interesting than watching paint dry, but doesn’t quite rival picking the label off an empty beer bottle. Large portions of the record are comprised of plodding chugs and riffs that sound as though they were written by a four-year-old, with Barnes’ trademark mouthwash gargles serving as an ever-present reminder that possessing the musical IQ of an amoeba is no barrier to getting on in life. It’s empowering stuff.

Now I’ll confess, my first impression of the album wasn’t fully terrible. Torment is actually mixed remarkably well, with every instrument fully audible and crisp-sounding, and this has the initial effect of distracting the listener from what a steaming abortion it really is. Tracks such as opener “Sacrificial Kill” and “Knife Through the Skull,” however, amble along at such a geriatric pace that I swear I could feel my toenails growing, waiting for anything to actually happen. That is largely the story of much of the record’s slower material, which comprises about 75% of its total runtime.

Even when the tempo does pick up, it rarely achieves anything that hasn’t already been done a thousand times before by any other generic DM outfit you might care to mention. Tracks like “In the Process of Decomposing” and “Schizomaniac”—winner of the Derpy McDerpface Award for the shittiest song title of the year so far—actually crack on at a reasonable pace, and I’ll concede that from time to time a passably enjoyable riff or hook may rear its head for a few brief seconds. For the most part, however, when one takes stock and analyzes what the music is really doing, it just sounds as though the notes were picked at random and sped up in the hope that it might sound cohesive. Perhaps if you’re on your 14th beer and your only concern is how many decibels you can ram down your ear canals before tinnitus sets in then it might hit the spot; I haven’t tried. That said, however, by the time you reach the end of closer “Roots of Evil,” it’s striking how quickly tinnitus slips down the list of the worst things that could happen to you in the future.

Every time a stork leaves a new Six Feet Under album on my doorstep, I wonder if this could finally be their return to form, and every time, almost without exception, it turns out to be just another disjointed snooze-fest. Torment is no different. The guitar work is so terminally uninteresting, and Barnes’ vocals so nauseatingly dull, that it’s difficult to really understand what the point of this record is at all, other than to serve as a metaphor for what happens when a group of people collectively stop giving a shit and simply try to occupy their time as they wait for death. Someone really needs to have a word.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 276 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records
Website: facebook.com/sixfeetunder | sixfeetunder.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2017

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  • antitayyip

    this could be album of the year, but you just playin…

    • defjam

      Nice moniker you’ve got

  • No prisoners!!

    • Reese Burns

      I was almost hoping you’d tackle this one, Druhm! But, I guess a good way to put the newbies to the test is by giving them this to review..

  • RyanM1985

    Christ, that cover art is atrocious.

    • Stefunal

      It looks like something from a bad 1990s horror videogame with full-motion video cutscenes.

    • Reese Burns

      Christ, that music is atrocious.

    • Dudeguy Jones

      In this day and age too, where every other person is an instagram famous illustrator… its kind of shocking just how bad and misinformed this artwork is.

      I actually had to start pumping the brakes lately because so much stuff had good artwork and I found myself slavering all to often, only to be let down by flaccid riffs and cooky shit, but this….

  • Stefunal

    You keep mentioning “return to form”, and now I’m actually curious whether or not they’ve ever actually been good. Hard to believe it anyway, judging by, like, every single track I’ve ever heard by them.

    • Lord Lucan

      Some of their early material was semi-tolerable, but boy was there a fucking big drop off.

  • Norfair Legend

    Why. can’t. he. just. vary. his. vocals. a. little. bit. they. are. super. irritating.

    • [not a Dr]

      The vocals are the only reason I’m still listening.

    • Stefunal

      I just realized that the acronym “SFU” could also be used for “Shut the Fuck Up”.

  • Diego Molero

    Six Feet Under is the worst “mainstream metal” band ever, or whatever the hell you want to call it. I don’t get how they are famous, at all.

    • Stefunal

      Probably because it’s the band of “that dude from Cannibal Corpse”.

    • Reese Burns

      Chris Barnes has somehow managed to ride the coattails of being “that other guy who used to be in Cannibal Corpse” for ages. From what I’ve heard, he’s a proper dickhead too, so I can say for absolutel certain that he doesn’t deserve an ounce of the fame he’s got.

  • HairyToeKnuckles

    Listening to the embedded track and seeing the Cookie Monster staring right up at that embedded track, and then hearing Cookie Monster sing in the embedded track, destroyed my sides. Great job!

  • Jrod1983

    This is pure garbage, I feel bad that someone had to listen to it for a review.

    And the cover art is just something else

  • Eldritch Elitist

    How can this album possibly be bad when Metal Wani gave it a 8.5!?

    • Grymm

      They just gave an album a 5.5 rating recently, and I nearly called my Mom up to let her know such a joyous, unheard-of low review was given on that site.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        Good thing you didn’t call her. I might’ve given Mama Grymm a heart attack!

        • Grymm

          Nah, she would probably just ask me what a “wani” was before inquiring about how our cats were doing.

      • Reese Burns

        What album?? I gotta hear this abomination.

        • Grymm

          Vitja, who I never heard about until I saw it.

      • Eli Valcik

        Could AMG get a review segment where you guys review other reviewers? (sarcasm) (I know it’s kinda weird to let you know when I’m being sarcastic but I have an odd sense of humor and sometimes my jokes don’t land… Like this one.)

        • Honestly, I miss a site to review sites. Some pages got questionable credibility and integrity to say the least.

          • I think most metal review sites can be charitably described as amateur. I disagree with almost all musical opinions here on AMG, but since they’re one of the only metal sites in existence where the writers can actually, you know, write… I’m still checking it regularly and have been for years.

            BTW, could you expand on the credibility and integrity part of your post? Maybe there’s some context I’m missing.

          • If a site give very positive feedback on an album, labels and bands alike are going to share and link to it, making sure the site gets a higher number of clicks and better statistics. Thus, if you have no integrity, you just give every release one hell of a laudation and a top notch rating.

            Honest sites, however, retain credibility among metal-heads. You can agree or disagree with a review as the writer has a subjective taste, but at least you know that it’s honest, discussing both pros and cons. AMG is a trustworthy site, which is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back (along with fairly in-depth analyses).

          • As a reply to both Reese Burns and Gorger: Thanks, that explains a lot. I’m not sure I’m willing to think that most amateur sites would behave like that. Maybe partially, but since bad reviews do seemingly happen on most sites, it would seem they are not entirely about gaming the system. Unless of course you’d say they just give some token bad scores to band from labels they don’t care about, but… Maybe I’m just naive in my willingness to believe in the good of people. Probably, actually.

          • I wouldn’t say that “most” sites akt that way. I honestly don’t have any idea about how many should be classified as unreliable. By now, I hardly drop by anyone but AMG and NCS, save for an occasional exclusive streaming.

            As for smaller sites, many of them most likely receive more promos than they’re able to process, and solve this first world problem by picking out the best artists and what sounds most exciting. Thus ending up with a majority of positive reviews.

            Still, if the ratings of a site is very high on average, I’d be a bit skeptical.

          • Reese Burns

            Just as an addition to what Gorger was saying, a lot of metal review sites are very unprofessional, but that’s because they’re not really “reviewing” things. At least, not seriously. They give every album a high score, and in return, they get into record labels’ good books, and in return, are given free review copies of albums in advance of their release dates. Basically they’re trading good reviews for free early access to new albums.

    • AndySynn

      Ha… oh Metal Wani… never change.

      • RuySan

        Is it weird that I never heard of that website until now?

        And I have every kind of metal-related crap on my feedly

        • Ugo Poifol

          Wait until you hear about PlanetMosh

          • Grymm

            Oh GAWD…

    • Ugo Poifol

      Answer : it’s Metal Wani.

      • Grymm

        I have a problem with a website that posts a Top Ten Essential Albums listing FOR EVERY MONTH OF THE CALENDAR YEAR.

        Most months are lucky I can find one album to fawn over, let alone ten.

  • Mariusz Miłosz

    Well, never liked them.

  • Grymm

    I have a beef with this review.

    WHAT SAVAGE REMOVES LABELS FROM BEER BOTTLES?!

    Signed,
    -An avid beer bottle collector

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Hi.

      Signed,
      An avid beer bottle recycler

      • Grymm

        Touché.

        Signed,
        An avid beer bottle collector who got served

    • Dead1

      Apparently it’s a sign of sexual frustration.

      • The Unicorn

        So is removing penis skin by excessive masturbation. But I digress..

        • Reese Burns

          Jesus dude. Chris Barnes could get you to write lyrics for the next SFU album. That is, if the world is unlucky enough to see another SFU album.

    • Guilty as charged. I’m one of those people who peel off labels when I get bored at a party.

  • Jason

    No surprises here, sadly.

  • Dr_Fisting

    Damn, that’s a brutal review. These guys have been on the decline ever since the SFU/Ice-T collaboration “One Bullet Left.”

  • I.B. Hurtin

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

  • Dr. Wvrm

    No one can accuse that album title of false advertising.

  • gus rodrigues

    I was expecting a 1.0… I got what I expected!
    I truly don’t like this band. not a single album.
    I remember when barnes left cannibal corpse i had high hopes for them, but after I listened to their debut I gave up. Amazing that they are still signed to metal blade, as I truly don’t know anyone that buys their stuff

  • André Snyde Lopes

    1.0? So this one of the better SFU albums…

  • SFU sounds like a Weird Al parody version of a death metal band. I’m surprised the lyrics aren’t about grilled cheese sandwiches or something.

    • Lord Lucan

      They very well might be. Who’d ever know?

    • I actually agree 100%. And seriously so, not in some joking mindset. They DO really sound like a parody.

  • Dead1

    Great review. Dire records tend to promote the most imaginative and amusing reviews. So I suspect the purpose of albums like this isn’t the music, it’s to provide raw ingredients for the review.

  • GardensTale

    This is more brutal than playing Cattle Decapitation at a Texan butcher’s conference. The review I mean, not the record.

  • Treble Yell

    This review is is a refutation to the notion you can’t turn a silk purse from a sow’s ear as the album may be an abomination but the review spun from its corpse is glorious.

  • Zach Ward

    Wow, it sucks??? I’m so shocked!!!!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I LOVE their first album. Seriously.

    • Dan

      I love their first album as well. For me it’s a classic. There, I said it:)

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Agreed!

    • sweetooth0

      Yup, me too!

  • I’ve only heard 3 tracks from this album so I won’t comment on its quality, but I am surprised by reviews with statements like ‘all SFU albums are the same’ – since there have been different musicians on all of the last 4 albums.
    The last one by the Cannabis Corpse guys in particular I enjoyed quite a bit

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      “Same” as in all bad

      • I don’t see how that could make sense statistically – there are too many different musicians, many very talented, that have written the music. At this point it’s just a conditioned response- like conservatives assuming anything ‘socialist’ is the work of the devil

    • herrschobel

      are you Chris Barnes ?

      • For offering a perspective at odds with the conventional narrative ?

        • herrschobel

          well…it´s hard with SFU … overall they are really bad… from an empirical point of view…with a few exceptional highlights… i actually quite like SFU once in a while .. the same way i occasionally enjoy simplistic drum and bass or other primitive Forms of Music..or really terrible Horror Movies…if they had made ONE record with all the highlights i would call them genius for doing what they do but over the course of 20+ years…..c’mon man

          • I definitely agree they have quite a few average to sub-par records, for reasons only known to those involved. I find almost all of the albums at least passable though.
            That being said, I feel like most of the hate I see online is over the top – a band can be average without being given binary labels of ‘brilliant’ or ‘garbage’.
            All of the last 3 albums have been pretty different, in particular the Cannabis Corpse one, but I still see the same reviews everywhere, as if it’s just more of the same. Seems like lazy reviewing – anyways cheers, you have a more positive outlook than most here !

  • The Unicorn

    Oh how the mighty have fallen…

  • The Unicorn

    Torment. This is the sound of lung cancer.

  • Dobbie03

    Yeah, this fucking sucks.

  • Rob

    Even in my formative teen years discovering all the tiny facets of metal, Six Feet Under has always struck me as the K-Mart brand of Death Metal. This is so bad, it’s baffling. Holy shit, his voice breaks and wavers at the end of every line! Hang it up, Chris.

  • manimal

    I agree with everything you said, except for the part about the mix.

    There is something wrong with the bass guitar’s top-end… someone wanted to make every instrument audible, at any cost. The cost being that some horrible top-end skronk found it’s way into the mix.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m all for the minimal, but the riffs, the composition are all unimaginative and dull, and how about that fucking cover art? did they steal this amazing piece from a museum? I avoid this band like the plague.

  • You guys do your thing and do it well…as soon as I saw a review for a “Six Feet Under” album my shit eating grin was immediate and this didn’t disappoint…Chris Barnes still proving that one can death growl out of key. Also learned what “torpor” means, which is generally my state of being when I get home from work. :P

  • Tyr

    Undead was a great album. I was hoping that would be the beginning of something new but nope……..slid right back to crap. Even the debut was boring and generic. I don’t understand the love for that album either.

    • Jason

      Admittedly, it’s been awhile since I’ve listened to the debut, so I may be looking at it through nostalgia-tinted glasses, but that was definitely a death metal gateway album for me.

  • When you talked about the most one dimensional vocalist in existence, I at first thought you were talking about Jens Kidman. While I’m only halfway joking, the 6 Feet Under vocalist really is infinitely more boring. Just… incredible.

    Some of the riffing was decent, which is a shame and a waste.

  • BernBern17

    Couldn’t think of a better name for this album

  • herrschobel

    you brave man !

  • Vance McCumber

    I would have to admit that Haunted and Warpath were good albums, but back then you had Allen West (former Obituary) cranking out the riffs, he had a great tone. When West was gone they just turned into a mockery of themselves.

    • Treble Yell

      My thoughts exactly.

  • I didn’t like early SFU. It sounded like Obituary with Barnes on vocals and coming off Cannibal’s best album, The Bleeding, it was a letdown. The best Six Feet Under album is Torture Killer’s Swarm!.

  • Jacq

    I knew I shouldn’t press play but I just couldn’t help it.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    He sounds like a group of dogs barking when they here a sound out side, or they need to go outside and shit. This album is SO bad, Metal Blade record (which my x band is actually on), disabled the comment section, for both tracks they have up. LOL. WOW how horrible is that.!

  • herrschobel

    ahhhh…at this point SFU is an avantgarde art project and nobody gets it. poor Mr. Barnes. He is the Henry Flynt or La Monte Young of Death Metal..Listen to ‘The Seperation of Flesh from Bone’ .. it´s just so weird …

  • Here’s Johnny

    You really are dickheads on this site, aren’t you?

    • Did we hurt your feelings by not loving this album?

      • Here’s Johnny

        No, i don’t think its as bad as what people are saying though. I’d still listen to this more than Hardwired..To Put You To Sleep but how many truthful reviews of that album did we see?

    • herrschobel

      dickheads with taste dear Sir !

      • Here’s Johnny

        this is such a way to review an album with humour, without coming off as elite ‘we know better’ douchebags.

        • herrschobel

          i know what you mean and i agree…

    • Lord Lucan

      We pride ourselves on it.

      • Here’s Johnny

        Well i’m sure the Queen will be sending Knighthoods soon enough.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    This band can do no wrong in my eyes. I love everything they release!! I even love Chris Barnes’ vocals, which apparently most people think are the worst thing they’ve ever heard. Even the comical “Bringer Of Blood” and “True Carnage” put a smile on my face when I listen to them; just fun, caveman, low-hanging fruit death metal. Admittedly, I will admit that I can see why a lot of people think this band is borderline unlistenable. That’s cool. I eagerly anticipate every release of theirs, and this album is no exception. Hoping it continues their string of quality releases. I will say that “Crypt Of the Devil” was probably my least favorite album of theirs since “Bringer Of Blood”, but it was still a very solid listen. I just haven’t revisited it as much as I have their previous releases. Here’s to Chris Barnes and those beautiful/horrible/disgusting/wonderful vocals!

  • After the 3rd 6FU album I just gave up. I really hate everything that came after that.
    That being said – this album is not THAT bad. Way better then a lot of stuff they have recently released.

    Worth at least one spin.

    Yea – ofcourse – Its forgettable

    • surreptitious pounders

      I partially agree, I have the first 2 SFU albums but once Barnes started repeating the 3 chord mid paced rasta man thing I tuned out. However since Undead he’s been putting out pretty decent groove brutal death metal. His voice isn’t capable of much depth like it used to be, but who listens to death metal for vocal ranges?

  • surreptitious pounders

    I guess it’s just cool these days to bag on Chris Barnes, but I found this album catchy and brutal. The same morons on here decrying his vocals are the same ones touting some pig squealed basement recorded band as the next big thing.

    • Lord Lucan

      It’s ok, you’re well within your rights to be wrong.

  • Lou Daz

    I admit to being a fan of Six Feet Under. My initial exposure to death metal was Cannibal Corpse, and I cherish those first few releases with Barnes at the helm. Lord Lucan is right, though: the slower SFU tracks are pretty boring. When they pick things up a notch, I find myself enjoying the band much more.

  • RIKKI VERMIN

    I gotta say, this was the first album since death rituals that took me awhile to feel the vibe! At first, I thought the album sounded sloppy and the vocals sounded like barking! After about 6-7 listens I finally started understanding the lyrics! One song in particular “schizomaniac” was a little confusing to me ! Its high tempo than it grinds down! Ok, I kmow thats commonplace for sfu! Somehow, the song sounded out of place! Now that im familiar with the tracks, I really like this album! Its definately not my favorite, though! The thing is with sfu is, sometimes at first listen it seems like all the songs sound unprofessionaly produced! I learned with these guys that if you listen enough, you realize that these guys are the best death metal band around! Torment is not a great album by any means, however, this album you can tell that the whole band contributed an attempt to add something new to the mix!

  • Mr. Jim

    Lord What? A Fucking 1? What an insult!! You must have been rating your girlfriend. The musicianship immortalized on this album is fantastic, and there are definitely quite a few cool tunes. Barnes’ vocals are still guttural as hell and love or hate them, it really wouldn’t sound like a Six Feet Under album without them. Fuck the Haters!!!