Out Now

(Metal Blade)

Maybe Chris Barnes needs to slow down a little. Four albums in five years is a decent output by anyone’s standards, but perhaps it’s causing the Six Feet Under brand to fray around the edges.

2012’s Undead – featuring the talents of Chimaira’s Rob Arnold – breathed new life into the band’s bloodied corpse after four years devoid of new material, and its ‘demented twin’, Unborn, carried on the good work. 2015’s rawer Crypt of the Devil gave us some fine moments, but SFU ( boasting yet another new line-up) now appear to have run out of steam.

For one thing, Barnes’ trademark barks and growls seems to have been muffled by a bizarre production job – one that also robs Jeff Hughall’s guitars of their power. And while the frontman’s post-Cannibal Corpse outfit have usually opted for groove over speed, tracks like Knife Through The Skull and The Separation Of Flesh From Bone just feel limp and lumbering, and lack the dynamism, the crunch, that would have brought them to life.

In The Process Of Decomposing is a little more like it, a pulverising little dittie with some fine, gristly riffs, and Roots Of Evil is a catchy way to sign off. Yet all too often Torment falls short… and is more adrenaline sapping than adrenaline pumping.

Disappointing.