SIX FEET UNDER, Death Rituals (2008, Metal Blade)
Florida’s Six Feet Under have been one of the major upholders of skull album cover artwork since they arrived on the scene in the mid ’90s. Hail to them for that! Skull #51 is their first appearance in the Skullection, and while several other SFU covers could be inducted, we tend to limit a band’s inductions to two or three max. Commandments is another worthy one, and they have a couple others that might pass muster too. We’ve decided to add 2008’s Death Rituals into the Skullection. It’s a dandy. It takes a very traditional/generic looking skull as its base and adds a bunch of snakes and other reptilian looking creatures flying every which way out of the skull. Clearly a take on Greek mythology’s Medusa. The skull looks pretty happy about the whole thing too! Whoever designed this didn’t bother to throw any color at the image. Just stark black and white. Appropriate for the band’s musical approach.
This album starts off like any given Metal Blade album circa 1985, a tranquil, minor key bit of picking that melts into a foreboding doom-laden passage before…aw, darn it, it’s more generic Six Feet Under death metal. But that first minute? Great! I love Massacre and always found Six Feet Under an attempt at the Massacre sound. “Attempt,” I said. They also treat us to a cover of Motley Crue’s “Bastard,” which, if you’re familiar with 6FU’s Graveyard Classics cover album series, you’ll not need to be told that it’s completely ridiculous thanks to Chris Barnes. Barnes is a lousy excuse for a death metal vocalist and has been since the first Cannibal Corpse album, and he sounds even worse doing cover songs. Thanks for all the skull album covers over the years fellas!
— Friar Wagner