Six Feet Under - Crypt of the Devil (Metal Blade Records)

Stomping death metal...
Release Date: 
4 May 2015 - 11:30pm

Following on from Undead (2012) and Unborn (2013), Six Feet Under now bring us Crypt of the Devil and it doesn't disappoint. I'm always delighted by the incongruity of Chris Barnes' nasty, nasty lyrics and his actual (very mellow) personality - and he consistently growls his heinous vocal syle and content all over this release. Opening track Gruesome immediately launches into a dual attack of drums and guitars - there are no mellow intros here - with Barnes snarling as the lead guitars whine, howl and spew a blur of notes over massively chunky riffs. It's a splendid start and the quality is continued with one of my personal favourites, Open Coffin Orgy. The rhythm gets me bobbing along every time it comes on. There's a bit of a pause, a twang of bass and then, despite its initial slow pace, the track just builds to an explosion of madness.

Apparently the music was knocked out by Phil 'Landphil' Hall (who tracked the bass and guitar in Virginia) while Josh Hall (Phil's brother) did the drums. Brandon Ellis is also credited with guitars. Barnes added the vocals in Seattle and it was mixed in Florida. 'Kin 'ell...collaboration madness. Top this off with a live line-up of Barnes, Steve Swanson (guitar), Jeff Hughell (bass) and drummer Marco Pitruzella and you could well lose your mind thinking about it. Don't dwell on it; just listen to Crypt of the Devil and get down.

Getting back to the album, I seem to hear some old thrashy riffs in the unpleasantly titled Broken Bottle Rape and wonderfully blasphemous Break the Cross in Half. Machine gun guitars, artillery drumming and guitar scales that go beyond the fretboard, across the pick-ups and end-up as hammer-ons near the jack port. Lovely. It's quality all the way and I'd go so far as to say it's better than Undead and Unborn (and I really enjoyed those two). The depth of groove to the album adds some strutting funk to my wind-milling activities - and this might be the issue for some people; Crypt may be seen as being overly formulaic. The blasts, the beats, the groove. But then it is a Six Feet Under album so what the fuck should you expect? Get involved. It's bloody good stuff. The last six tracks are just as juicy as the first four that I've mentioned here - and the lead-work on Stab reaches such a crescendo in pitch and intensity that all the dogs in my neighbourhood starting howling along with the tune, while The NIght Bleeds is so groove you'll immediately be forced to get down like it's 1999. High praise indeed.