"Not gonna ask permission
Not gonna follow traditions- I am not your victim
So leave me the fuck alone"
Six Feet Under - "Bringer Of Blood" (2003)
Rating: 8.5 / 10
It seems that with each passing SFU release, the production gets grainier and the musicianship heavier. Such is not the case for the band’s fifth studio album, "Bringer of Blood". The production seems much better than the demo tape quality of "True Carnage", but then again any production job in the history of production jobs would be better than that album. The musicianship is just as heavy as the previous effort, however that dark tinge doesn’t exist quite as much. "True Carnage" seemed to have a really sadistic edge to it that only your fellow psychopathic metalhead could understand, while "Bringer.." seems to let up on the morbidity and focus more on wrecking your neck, which in my opinion is more important anyway.
Many still rag on this band calling them simplistic when comparing them to Barnes’ former band Cannibal Corpse. Well, duh, of course mostly anything out there in Deathmetalville will seem simplistic compared to the Corpse. However, SFU’s simplicity are what make them so enjoyable after listening to hours of the complexity of Dream Theater or Dimmu Borgir. I also get sick and tired of people comparing SFU to Corpse because to me they are two different entities. Anyway, let’s get on with the show:
Track #1 - Sick In The Head (4:11)
This song starts out with a little suicidal intro message and finally breaks into the main riff of the song and the "Dead to me!" chanting begins. You really feel the venom spitting from Barnes’ mouth on this one, and you’ll find yourself chanting along if you’re not too careful. The halfway mark of the song seems to breakdown to a groove oriented pace and finally speeds up to its original midpace status shortly afterwards. Overall this song is a keeper and stays with SFU’s track record of awesome opening tracks. (4/5)
Track #2 - Amerika The Brutal (3:00)
Weird guitar effect and bass line start this anthem before breaking into the actual song. The thing that damped this track for me was the lyrical content. If you look it as just a song, it’s plain heavy, but Barnes’ attacks at Bush get tiring coming from a pot smoking musician. I always say leave this anti-war crap to politicians, because half your fans will hate you for this kind of stuff. Anyway, the chorus is easy enough to sing to and the bridge in the middle really makes the song stick in my mind. Once again you can feel that venom dripping from every pore of Barnes’ body. He’s really pissed on this album. (3.5/5)
Track #3 - My Hatred (4:22)
The traditional stab at religion, another cliche of death metal and metal in general. I didn’t really dig the Cronos chorus of "Hell yeah!" because that seems too watered down for even SFU. The verses themselves have that same venom and fire I speak of, maybe even more so on this track. The middle of the song sees a quick speed up and then back to the original verse speed. I appreciated the music cutting out at the end because then you really listen to what Barnes’ is saying in this track. "Choke on your fucking cross, motherfucker!" seems to give me goose bumps every time. (3/5)
Track #4 - Murdered In The Basement (2:19)
This starts pretty fast right into the first verse followed by a pre chorus then chorus ad nauseam. While this may be one of the most brutal tracks on the album, I found it to be the least enjoyable simply because it is something people come to expect Chris Barnes to write about. It feels as if he tacked this on the album just to satisfy old Cannibal Corpse fans. It brings nothing new to the table and gets simply repetitive and boring even though it is a little over two minutes. Steve Swanson’s solo, which is actually interesting, gets cut off too soon as do some of his others on this album. (2/5)
Track #5 - When Skin Turns Blue (3:26)
Probably my favorite song on this album, the opening riff and lyrics combined kind of make you feel like they connect like the last half of Slayer’s "Angel of Death". Then the riff of the actual song kicks in which is almost the same but not quite as cool, still wrecking your neck, mind you. The actual chorus is well done with Barnes saying "rotten in the crypt" really sadistically. However, the best part of this track is the middle, where we are treated to a Steve Swanson guitar torture session followed by the best riff on the album by itself. Then this riff is followed by Chris Barnes chanting "God damn....YOU" in a way that makes metal music so magical. If this doesn’t get your head ringing then close the webpage now and look into Yanni. If you want to download one track off this album, here it is. (5/5)
Track #6 - Bringer of Blood (2:53)
The big anthem of the album. We are treated to some Zakk Wylde-esque pitch harmonics before being crushed by the bulldozer-pushing-barbed-wire-into-your-skull type riff that just makes you want to put a bullet through Tipper Gore’s head for no apparent reason. Barnes chanting, "Bringer of Blood," just speaks to me as SFU is bringing metal to the masses. Saying, "Together we’re as one," he is right, because as metal brothers and sisters we all fight for the same goddamn thing. No matter what type of metal we listen to, we still are metal. Period. (4.5/5)
Track #7 - Ugly (2:58)
Lyrically this is the best song on the album. While last song I wanted to shoot a gun, this one makes you want to carve out a heart. Barnes saying "Motherfucking death!", "KILL KILL KILL", and "You we’re so ugly you deserved to die," seem to just do that for me, I don’t know about you. And that bouncy riff that Swanson does just makes me want to put him up there with the great riff writers of all time. Download this one, too. (5/5)
Track #8 - Braindead (3:43)
Cool opening riff with a slow pace. The verse itself isn’t that memorable, but the chorus is. The way Swanson goes up a note, down a note, etc. makes the whole difference. This song reminds me of "Short Cut to Hell" off of "Maximum Violence" in more ways then one. I liked that song then, and I like this song now, go figure. (4/5)
Track #9 - Blind And Gagged (3:09)
We start out with a muffled version of the main riff, have Barnes scream out the title and then break into that riff in full volume, excellent. Barnes spitting out "I am not your victim!" under this little ripple part of riff just makes my hair stand up. It is clear that the heroes of SFU are Barnes and Swanson for this album because Greg Gall’s drum sound takes a backseat unlike on "True Carnage". The reason for that is that Metal Blade didn’t send his brand new kit in time for recording and he had to use Mr. Tardy’s (good name for the situation) from a lil’ band named Obituary. At least I think that’s how the story goes, it says it on the DVD, so check it out if I am wrong. (5/5)
Track #10 - Claustrophobia (2:49)
Like a lot of SFU songs, this one starts with Barnes saying the same thing over a few times then break into this grinding riff by Swanson. This seems like a throw away track to me, but it’s still cool. I didn’t really enjoy Barnes using a megaphone in the middle to do spoken word on the lyrics, but a lot of the times I find myself listening to SFU for the instruments anyway. The lyrics don’t really have a message or point like the other tracks on this album, and seem to have been written a day before recording, or maybe improvised even. (2.5/5)
Track #11 - Escape From The Grave (9:36)
It’s weird because usually SFU has such great closing tracks, but this time they fall short. This track was written during the recording sessions of this album, and it shows. Musically is seems pretty generic and non-memorable, disorganized to say the least. Perhaps they put it at the end so you don’t have to skip it while listening to the album? We are then treated to a few minutes of space after the song is over and finally here a bass line of the bonus track, which is pretty terrible. It lasts less then a minute, and is Swanson-less. Perhaps it is a cover, who cares? (1.5/5)
This album has a mix of good and bad tracks, but in my mind the good far outweigh the bad. Swanson seems to be evolving as a riff writer and guitar player, and may separate himself from the band in the future. His playing and Barnes’ vocal performance are what keep this band interesting to me. Greg Gall played a major part on "True Carnage", but gets backdoored on this one, while Terry Butler’s bass is now audible, but not significant as usual. I think an album with all four musicians contributing ideas and playing their instrument interesting enough would turn the metal world upside down. The good thing about SFU is that you know what you’re going to get. Those who already like SFU are going to like this, and those who hate them will continue to hate them. Hate them if you must, but always respect them, for they are metal.
CHOICE CUTS: "When Skin Turns Blue", "Blind And Gagged", "Ugly"