Image: Six Feet Under, Torment

Six Feet Under

It’s really not reinventing the wheel, now is it? When you get handed anything at all that says Six Feet Under on the cover and features Chris Barnes, there’s not a lot of mystery in what you’re getting. Some releases are better than the others, and they seemingly all seem to feature new personnel on them, but in the end, there’s a consistency to Barnes’ work since he left Cannibal Corpse. With TORMENT, it’s not especially different this time around, although it’s a far more direct release than their last studio offering CRYPT OF THE DEVIL was. Now working with a new drummer and a sort of new guitarist (Ray Suhy played on one song on CRYPT OF THE DEVIL and none here, but is listed as a member of the band), the result is to be expected.

There’s not a ton to say about TORMENT. If you like Six Feet Under, you will certainly enjoy this release. One thing that is almost non-existent this time that has long been an annoyance to my ears is the Barnes high pitched squealing that he’s been known to use in the say way as Zakk Wylde does a pinch harmonic squeal on his songs. These songs are much more guttural and a lot more pure death metal than previous releases. Songs like “Schizomaniac” just pummel the listener from start to finish. Guitarist Jeff Hughell is much more important to the sound than previous guitarist have been. He adds some cool solos to the standard death metal chunk riffs that dominate most of the material.

PITRIFF RATING - 70/100 - TORMENT is a cool death metal release. Not the best from Six Feet Under. Not the worst. If you liked them before, you will like them now. If you don't listen to his music anymore because of the way he seems to have screwed over the Curtis Beeson Nasty Savage benefit back in 2011 (a decision that not only cost Barnes two bandmates, but still comes up as a sore spot whenever his name comes up in a lot of metal circles), then TORMENT is not likely to bring you back around. It’s clear that Chris Barnes knows what he does well, and replicates it with a few tweaks each time to keep things fresh for him. It works. Is it WARPATH? Well, no. It’s doubtful that perfect formula can exist with Barnes again with any lineup. That said though, his music never sucks if you are a fan of his brand of death metal. TORMENT doesn’t change that.

Chris Akin

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