Review Summary: An ancient relic, the Stonehenge of Grunge.-Preface-
When I say Grunge, what's the first thing that comes to mind" Nirvana" Kurt Cobain" That'd make sense.. After all, Nirvana are the poster band of the Seattle scene. They're also accredited with discovering the so-called Grunge sound. That's not rightly so, however. Nirvana were actually a second-wave band, drawing much influence from many other bands in Seattle at the time. Kurt Cobain was a roadie for one of those first-wave bands, the Melvins. The Melvins are often cited for influencing many bands of the Sludge & Stoner Metal variety, but their Grunge influence is often forgotten among their accolades.
-The Battle of the Bands-
The Deep Six
compilation is the earliest recording of the grunge sub-genre. On one fateful day, the newly formed Grunge bands gathered together...
The year was 1986, the Melvins and a handful of bands began brainstorming ways to save the masses from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet
. The bands included Soundgarden, Skin Yard, Green River, Malfunkshun, and U-Men.
"Our powers separately will go without avail... we must join forces in order to slay this foul beast," stated Soundgarden's lead guitarist.
"Okay.. so we should throw all our insane shouting and awesome riffs into one recording. But what should we name this musical collage"" asked the young King Buzzo.
"We shall call it Deep Six
," the axe wielder replied.
"We're going to name it after a porno""
"No.. Not a porno, Buzzo. There are six of us. Six bands to rule them all..."
And thus Deep Six was formed, in order to fight off Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet
. They did their best, but the Deep Six
montage couldn't save everyone, there were casualties. Guns N' Roses released too many albums, Nickelback happened, Bon Jovi lived. Not all was lost however, as the seeds for music prosperity were sown with this collaboration.
The production on Deep Six is fairly raw yet clear. Its rawness is a testament that no one had any idea what these bands would later become. Some members of Green River would go on to form Mudhoney. Malfunkshun would give way to Mother Love Bone, and subsequently recruit Eddie Vedder to start Pearl Jam. Skin Yard's drummer, Matt Cameron, would go on to join Soundgarden and become the highly regarded drummer he is today. This isn't really the kind of album I'd normally attach a rating to, since it's more so a piece of history than anything. Due to the production of the album, only fans of the sub-genre can appreciate it.
Green River's "10,000 Things" starts the album with a riff that aims straight for the gut. Mark Arm's howls and casual vocals sing tales of running away from "10,000 whole things.. maybe more". Early incarnations of Soundgarden's "All Your Lies" and "Tears to Forget" (from their debut LP album "Ultramega OK" and debut EP "Screaming Life", respectively) are found on here. The Melvins also feature two tracks worth noting. "Scared", has a groovy riff that shortly breaks down into a melodic outro, and they flex their heaviness in "Grinding Process".
The stand-out track on this compilation has to be Skin Yard's "The Birds", not only for its stark contrast to the rest of the album, but for its musical genuinity as well. Its lyrics are inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's classic film The Birds
. In them, Ben McMillan sings in a mellow jazz-like style, narrating a character's experiences of anxiety and depression. The ominous bass line is very prominent, adding to the already gloomy atmosphere . I should also mention the saxophones and Matt Cameron's drumming. Everything about this makes for a strange, yet intriguing track.
Grunge needs no introduction today, but Deep Six
essentially introduced the world to the scene. It's a neat album to have for any avid album collector or Seattle listener. If you fall within that realm, you should definitely check this out!