CD Review: Six Feet Under – Crypt of the Devil

CD Review: Six Feet Under – Crypt of the Devil
Metal Blade Records
All Access Rating: A-

Six Feet Under - Crypt of the Devil 2015
Death-metal defilers Six Feet Under, one of the genre's flagship entities, visit the Crypt of the Devil on their 11th studio album, as Chris Barnes' brutally obsessive study of the warped psyche of a serial killer continues to plumb the depths of human depravity.

The king of terrifying guttural bellowing, Barnes tapped a new partner for this particular project in Phil "Landphil" Hall of Cannabis Corpse, who lined up his brother, Josh Hall, to track the drums and guitarist Brandon Ellis to do likewise with most of the guitar leads.

From this collaboration comes an ever-evolving theatre of the grotesque, the gruesome, violent lyrical imagery buried under mounds of filth expelled by Barnes' growling vocal fury and ever-evolving, riff-heavy grooves and dynamics, such as those unpredictable tectonic shifts underneath the gnarled, maze-like opener "Gruesome."

Anticipating where Six Feet Under is going next is impossible on this Metal Blade Records release. Chugging along in laborious fashion, the thick, heavy machinery of the menacing "Break The Cross in Half" explodes into chaotic oblivion, before the fragments reform and assume another malevolent shape. "Slit Wrists" ponderously marches through a marsh of sludge, then gathers momentum and breaks into a full gallop, while "Lost Remains" doesn't wait to unleash hell, its thrashing, speeding tempo propelled forward with relentless drive.

Amid the nightmarish, earthy environs of Crypt of the Devil – its meaty textures enough for bloodthirsty listeners to gnaw on for hours – are brief moments of beauty, the stained-glass, darkly kaleidoscopic bridge to "Stab" a spellbinding respite from pounding rhythmic intensity and the melodic, arcing dual-guitar leads of the roiling "Open Coffin Orgy" offsetting its militant, snap-to-attention beats and manic energy. Not interested in reinventing the Six Feet Under aesthetic, Barnes and his grave-robbing brethren emphasize what the band has always done best – see how they morph from the stuttering intro to "The Night Bleeds" into the kind of thick, churning riffage they can concoct in their sleep.

That's not to say Crypt of the Devil is rehashing the past. Instead, Six Feet Under drives its rumbling hearse forward, fearlessly confronting all of our horrible fears without mercy and sharpening its attack.
– Peter Lindblad

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