Graveyard Classics

Six Feet Under

Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Hey, look! A death metal CD that's actually fun!

No matter what your view is of death metal, you have to admire the spunk of Six Feet Under to release their latest disc Graveyard Classics. After the creative success of their last disc Maximum Violence, one had to wonder how they were going to top themselves. The answer, of course, is that they're not about to try... not yet. Instead, they took 12 songs from bands who they liked or who had influenced them and gave them a thrashing.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Admittedly, you have to take these performances with a grain of salt. If you go into this disc thinking that vocalist Chris Barnes will suddenly drop his "gargled-with-Lysol" sound for more understandable vocals, you've got another thought coming. (It is weird, though, to know just what he's growling - it's the closest I've ever come to deciphering this genre.) If you pick this disc up expecting to hear guitarist Steve Swanson play note-for-note copies of the solos - well, he does come pretty close, you have to give him that. But he still puts enough of his own stamp on them to let you know you're listening to a new translation of an old favorite.

There is only one mis-step on Graveyard Classics - namely, using Armored Saint/Anthrax vocalist John Bush to do a duet on their cover of The Scorpions's "Blackout". I am a big fan of Bush's, but to hear him follow up Barnes's growls and grunts... well, it's as out of place as Vince Neil joining the Three Tenors. Stylistically, it doesn't work. Musically, it's an interesting cover.

And you can't help but smile when you hear Six Feet Under tackle such songs as Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," AC/DC's "TNT" or The Monkees's (The Monkees?!?) "Stepping Stone". (They say the Sex Pistols recorded it, and I don't doubt that, but it is weird to know where the roots of this song are.)

You don't need to be fans of all 12 bands covered by Six Feet Under; chances are, one or two of these performances might be of groups you're not familiar with. If anything, Graveyard Classics does two things, and it does them well. First, it shows a band having fun with a form of music that is usually gloom and doom - and this is quite refreshing. Second, it might just spur you to head down to your local music emporium and pick up a CD or two from a band like Dead Kennedys or Angelwitch.

Graveyard Classics almost makes death metal fun... who ever thought someone would make a comment like that about this genre! This disc makes me all the more eager to hear the next studio album from Six Feet Under.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.