Sunday, June 26, 2011

Warpath - Six Feet Under - 1997

WarpathSuggested to me via a recent post (many thanks, New Wave of Thrash Metal!), Six Feet Under's sophomore full-length release, Warpath, has successfully satiated my seemingly unquenchable desire for all things similar to Jungle Rot. Death metal's All-Star team (Cannibal Corpse's Chris Barnes on vocals, Obituary's Allen West on guitars and Death bassist Terry Butler with Greg Gall on drums), Six Feet Under were brand-new to me and Warpath is an excellent surprise as this is exactly the uncomplicated, repetitive (in the best of all possible ways) groove assault I was seeking. 

The key to Warpath's success for this listener is, plain and simple, Allen West. Simple, deliberate riffs. Add to this the repeat, mantra-like lyrics and a track like "Nonexistence," for example, is absolutely compelling.

Another noteworthy impression left by Warpath are Chris Barnes' variations in vocal delivery and departures from the constant death metal growl he virtually pioneered. Nowhere is this more apparent than his ode to herb, "4:20:"

On Warpath Six Feet Under remind me a lot of the faster (for them) moments of Cathedral. It's a laid back head-nodder and, listening to it across the last week, I found today that it plays much better on headphones in an airplane than, say, in a car stereo speeding down the interstate (and, for me, this would have played great on a secondhand sofa half-conscious in some head's house circa 1994). This is music for sitting around and chilling out. I plan to spend more time doing just that with Warpath this summer.

I've been warned by more than one person now about Six Feet Under and the warnings come from both ends of the spectrum. I've heard that Warpath is their only good album and I've been told Warpath is their worst album and that they have so much more to offer. Having dug it, I have to put more faith in the former and am pinning my hopes, then, to Allen West. I have only owned one Obituary album, Frozen in Time, and it has since been recycled as it made little impression, good or bad. I may, then, need to head back to their early-90's output and see if there's some magic there as well. Still, there's a little room on the shelf to try at least one more Six Feet Under record, too...

1 comment:

  1. Although I love Obituary, I have to say that in order to hear the Obi-groove the way it should be, you need to listen to their "Dead" album (their 1998 live album). It is truly a monster which actually brings out the best in their studio albums' riffs.

    Anyway, nice write-up on SFU's best (IMO) album.