Review Summary: The beginning of the end for Six Feet Under
This album is a joke. I’m not saying that Six Feet Under meant for this to be a joke, but listening to Graveyard Classics
is an abysmal experience. Cover songs often sound worse than the original song, but an album made up entirely of them is almost guaranteed to be terrible. This is especially true when said album is performed by what is widely considered to be one of the worst death metal bands of all time. It’s a widely known fact that vocalist Chris Barnes is a fan of a certain illegal green leaf and one can only assume Barnes had smoked an excessive amount of said leaf before coming up with the idea for Graveyard Classics
The songs that SFU chose are truly baffling, especially seeing as none of the songs chosen would appear to be an inspiration for anything SFU had put out at the time. The choice of songs covered would seem more in place on a late 80’s thrash band’s cover album than a groovy death metal band’s. Surprisingly old artists such as Paul Revere And The Raiders, Deep Purple, and Jimi Hendrix are all covered in this album while the newest track was still 15 years old at the time. What’s even more perplexing is that fans of death metal at the time were likely not interested in albums that would have been 30 years old, especially when some were never metal to begin with.
Further cementing Graveyard Classics
as an atrocity is Chris Barnes’ horrendous vocal performance. Many of the tracks covered originally had incredibly distinct and memorable vocalists like Bon Scott and Jimi Hendrix. Meanwhile, Barnes’ vocals had been getting progressively worse ever since 1992’s Tomb Of The Mutilated
. Hearing Black Sabbath’s masterpiece Sweet Leaf with subpar death growls is an affront to the original version. The songs just don’t work with death growls, party due to the fact that none of the songs were written in an era where death metal existed outside of demo tapes. Even more heinous is the fact that the vocals are easily the loudest part of the mix, ignoring them is just not possible.
Putting the vocals aside for the moment, even the instrumental part of the album is a mess. The guitar and bass tone is thin and weak, hardly filling out Graveyard Classics
’ soundscape. This comes as a surprise since Metal Blade Records’ owner and founder Brian Slagel was the producer and mixer for this album. This is the same man that launched bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Cannibal Corpse to fame. The playing itself is simply average. This is just as inexcusable since Terry Butler played bass on Graveyard Classics
. Well versed death metal fans may recognize him from albums like Death’s Spiritual Healing
and Massacre’s From Beyond
. The people making this album have talent and a capability to make great music, yet they did the complete opposite here, and the great music was already written for them.
I originally listened to Graveyard Classics
as a joke. The cover of TNT is even SFUs most popular song. However, this joke ran for much too long. The album is almost 47 minutes and after about 10 it loses any novelty value it may have had. Perhaps this would have been more bearable if it was closer to 30 minutes and had reasonale song choices, but at this length its simply torture. I can’t even recommend this album as something to laugh at.