Review by Felix on July 28, 2019.
I am not familiar with each and every output of Six Feet Under and no, I do not intend to change this. Their products are usually either mediocre or absolute crap. Whenever I think of their "classics" series, I cannot eat as much as I want to puke. But even a blind chicken finds a corn once in a while and as far as I can see, Warpath is the best full-length of the formation.
To avoid misunderstandings right from the beginning, I am not talking about a masterpiece, a milestone or something like that. The tracks are nearly painfully repetitive, the vocals of Chris Barnes appear pretty one-dimensional and lyrics like "I'll kill 'til I die" give me absolutely nothing. But I am aware of the fact that I will not change the weird genre rules of death metal and therefore it is futile to moan about the lyrical stupidity of the songs.
Maybe it makes more sense to speak about the production. Brian Slagel has been responsible for the mix and the dude from California belongs to the people who have shaped the sound of extreme metal right from the start. It is therefore only logical that the Metal Blade boss knows how a death metal album should sound. The guitars are not too low-tuned, the drum appears pretty natural and the voice does not sideline the contributions of the other band members. But what about the tracks themselves?
Doubtlessly, the album is not free from failures. The verse of "4:20" and the chorus of "Burning Blood" show that Barnes is a very limited, nearly miserable vocalist. "A Journey into Darkness" offers nothing but boredom. Nevertheless, the majority of the compositions hits the mark. In spite of the fact that mid-tempo prevails, Six Feet Under are able to fascinate the listener with creeping monsters like the opener and "Death or Glory". A short outburst of velocity ("Animal Instinct") makes clear that the dudes are also able to handle more aggressive configurations. And "Revenge of the Zombies" scores with an effective interplay of the verses and some instrumental parts that rely on a pretty belligerent yet smooth riff. I admit that there are no signs of compositional innovation and the world did not really need an album like the here presented one, but that's not the crucial factor. Maybe the world would even still exist without "Hell Awaits" (I don't think so). More relevant is that Warpath has a couple of extremely catchy, coherent numbers under its belt that make fun from time to time.
Finally, the songs are not too groovy. Rhythm plays a prominent role, but it is still more death metal than death 'n' roll or comparable shitty styles. So, feel free to ornament your lovely face with war paint in order to take your first steps on the warpath in an appropriate manner. And don't worry. Although some dubious creatures scream permanently that they will kill until they die, one thing is for sure. I am listening to Warpath since 1997 from time to time, but my head is still on my neck.
Rating: 7.3 out of 10