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Killing For Revenge

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Know-Nothing Ingrate
2. Accomplice To Evil Deeds
3. Ascension
4. When The Moon Goes Down In Blood
5. Hostility Against Mankind
6. Compulsive
7. Fit Of Carnage
8. Neanderthal
9. Judgement Day
10. Bestial Savagery
11. Mass Casualty Murdercide
12. Spoils Of War
13. Hair Of The Dog (Nazareth Cover)


Review by Alex Grindor on May 13, 2024.

Six Feet Under is a band that requires no introduction at this point, but a brief reprise is needed. Once a side project started by Chris Barnes, in 1995 it became his priority after being expelled from Cannibal Corpse (a wound that still bleeds to this day, whether he admits it or not). In the years since, Six Feet Under has gone from being decent to mediocre and, in the last decade, so horrendous that it has become the laughingstock of the death metal scene, mostly due to Barnes' awful vocal performance in the last 4 albums. 2020's Nightmares Of The Decomposed was the band's last release up to that point and it set a new standard when it comes to horrendous, pitiful performance. It was so bad, in fact, that Metal Blade disabled the comments in their official album stream, as anyone with proper hearing was bashing the album in its entirety; repetitive riffs with no variation whatsoever, mediocre playing and, worst of all, Barnes' performance was so terrible and ridiculous it became unintentionally hilarious. One must bear in mind that, at this point, the band's previous album, Torment, was already bashed due to horrible vocal performance, so it was believed that it couldn't be worse than that, until it was. And the ensuing drama following Barnes' statements on what "the genre has become" did little to soothe his disappointed fans and the community.

Now, why is it necessary to bring all this up before talking about Killing For Revenge? Because one would think that in the 4 years since, Chris Barnes would attempt a return to form, to show how "things should be done" in this genre he so despises, but you'd be wrong, and Killing For Revenge is proof that, at this point, he (and the band he represents) doesn't care. To start, let's delve into the abysmally few good points this album has. First, the production; it is LEAGUES above and beyond what was achieved in the previous record (though that isn't hard to accomplish). The guitars pack a punch, the bass has weight and presence and the instrumentation as a whole is well-balanced. Second, the songwriting; as Jack Owen was in charge of almost all songwriting, it is a slight step-up from the previous album and a bit more energetic, but nothing outstanding. Third, the cover art; it is beautiful and a great improvement over the previous one, but I believe that it being made by Vincent Locke bears more meaning (if you know what I mean).

When it comes to the music, however, it all falls flat. Although the drumming is an improvement and the music is at times more energetic, it drags on in repetitive fashion over and over, with riffs so basic and lackluster that make the dullest ambient black metal band sound technically impressive by comparison. And yes, it's a fact that Six Feet Under was never intended to have complex arrangements or riffs, but there was at least some degree of variation in their early output which is lost by this point in their career, and whatever great moment the songs may have is dragged until boredom, and not even the solos can save these songs from the amount of apathy they carry. But the biggest question is: has Barnes improved from the previous album? Well, yes but actually no. Gone are the terrible "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"s that he constantly did in Nightmares, but his growls are still dull and weak and he still can't keep up with the music, which should surprise no one at this stage since his vocals went downhill from Crypt Of The Devil onwards. His delivery sounds so tired and forced, with very little improvement over previous efforts. And the lyrics are childish and just as lame if not more than his performance, with him constantly repeating choruses and words to the point of fatigue ('Neanderthal' and 'Judgement Day' being prime examples). I can't help but notice that Barnes seems to be firing shots at those who critiqued him ('Know-Nothing Ingrate') as well as trying to convince himself that he does not care about his past ("the corpse is dead now" from 'When The Moon Goes Down In Blood'). In the end, this only shows that the man who once set the standard for death metal vocals has devolved into a pitiful parody of himself and, worst of all, is too proud to see this reality, while supported by a label that would rather prevent the fans' criticism than receive any at all.

Is Killing For Revenge an improvement over his previous efforts? Absolutely. Is it a return to form for this band? Barely. Is it on par with some of their most well regarded records? Not even close. Killing For Revenge is the sound of mediocrity, led by a man who cannot take criticism, yet barks in his songs against those who do so. If you like the album for the cover art, get a poster. There is no reason why you would even listen to this more than once. Do understand that this is not me being a hater. I just hold Chris Barnes to the standards he set a long time ago, and Killing For Revenge is another disappointment by a band that should be thrown in its namesake.

Rating: 2.1 out of 10

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