Review: Six Feet Under – Graveyard Classics IV

Allow me to get this out of the way; I love death metal. Six Feet Under is a classic brutal death metal act that, while not on par with Cannibal Corpse in my opinion, deserves our respect for carrying on for over two decades. Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about their latest cover album ‘Graveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest.’

Half Iron Maiden, half Judas Priest, this is a tribute to two of the band’s influences. While I love cover albums, I’m looking at you Children of Bodom and Iced Earth, some bands should reconsider doing one. In this case, it’s Six Feet Under. Of course, it’s not because the band can’t play the music they’re covering – musically, this album is a fantastic death metal rendition of some serious classics – but the fact that the vocals do absolutely no justice whatsoever to the source material.

Chris Barnes is a death metal icon. His throaty grunts and blood-curdling screams and snarls are the stuff of nightmares, but how does one whose style is purely based on indecipherable death growls expect to cover Judas Priest and Iron Maiden? Honestly, I don’t think he even considered trying and just did his own take on the songs, which are known for high notes and zero growls.

As a diehard Priest and Maiden fan, I found Barnes’ vocals revolting on this album but only because it’s a cover album. By just grunting his way through the music of the metal gods, he turned tribute into disrespect. Honestly, only the most loyal of Six Feet Under fans are going to enjoy his performance. On the flipside, however, the music is excellent. While not quite matching the source material’s tone and effects, I really enjoyed Six Feet Under’s death metal renditions, especially ‘The Evil That Men Do,’ ‘Flash of the Blade,’ ‘Genocide,’ and ‘Night Crawler.’

As much as I hated Chris Barnes’ butchering of the classics, I thoroughly enjoyed the music behind him. Six Feet Under did a fantastic job covering the source material musically, all while adding their own spin that deviated just enough to make it heavier and unique but still recognizable. Overall, this album is a mixed bag. On one hand the vocals make me cringe 99% of the time but the music kills. I have my opinion but feel free to check out the video below to form your own. 6/10



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