With their 12th studio album, Six Feet Under has returned with Torment. This is the first album where frontman Chris Barnes collaborated with Brain Drill member Jeff Hughell, who wrote all music for the album. Hughell was also responsible for recording all guitar and bass on Torment, essentially leaving a massive footprint on the record. Handling drum duties on the album is Marco Pitruzzella, who is also from Brain Drill. While both men have been in the lineup for quite awhile, neither contributed to the recording process of the previous album, 2015's Crypt of the Devil. While Torment is definitively a Six Feet Under Record, the aggressive influence from the creative core's main project has integrated itself into the sound in a great way.

I realized quickly while listening to album opener "Sacrificial Kill" that the bass and guitar were mixed and leveled very prominently, which was refreshing for the death metal genre. Hughell's playing is very distinguished and many points throughout the album feature impressive bass licks, notably in the intro of "Exploratory Homicide". Barnes' trademark guttural vocals are on full display, and the drums alternate between slow paced devastation and frenetic blast beats, which haven't been present on the past couple of albums. The track concludes with a chug heavy riff that hardcore kids could definitely two-step two, before ending with yet another fill heavy blast beat.

If the claims by drummer Marco Pitruzzella are to be believed, all drums for the record were recorded in one take, and feature no editing or sample replacement. In a genre where the aforementioned recording techniques are the norm, I can totally support "keeping it real". Pitruzzella also states he didn't record to a click track, instead following along to Hughell's pre-recorded drum tracks that he had studied for months. I won't continue to elaborate on how impressive that is, regardless of the genre. "Skeleton" begins with a drummer boy-esque snare fill that is accentuated by open chugged bass and guitar, before exploding into an uptempo assault riddled with Barnes' frenetic vocal delivery.

The groove oriented sound longtime fans have loved is still very much alive and evident on tracks like "In The Process Of Decomposing" and "Obsidian", which spend a majority of the time in a slower tempo. A full blown breakdown can be found during the tail end of "Bloody Underwear", with Barnes barking in time with every down tuned chug of the bass and guitar.

Overall, the Brain Drill influence on the record has brought more blast beats and stop start tempos that weren't previously a part of the earlier records. But at the end of the day, longtime fans of Six Feet Under will be satisfied with the brutality presented over the course of 47 minutes. Torment is available now via Metal Blade Records, and you can stream the entire album below via the record label's official YouTube page: