Six Feet Under – Crypt of the Devil (2015), Graveyard Classics IV (2016)

SixFeetUnder-CryptoftheDevil

Six Feet UnderCrypt of the Devil (Metal Blade Records, 05 May 2015)

 

Six Feet Under - Graveyard Classics IV

Six Feet UnderGraveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest (Metal Blade Records, 27 May 2016)

 

Okay, here’s my story. About fifteen or sixteen years ago, the file-sharing software Napster had hit its prime. The MP3 file format had been around for a few years, and it was a revolutionary new way to store and transfer digital audio due to the way it compressed data, which meant that over a relatively decent dial-up connection, it became possible to download a song in a matter of several minutes rather than hours. But coinciding with the rise of the Napster service, cable or DSL internet services were becoming increasingly widespread among household users — and while these broadband connections couldn’t compare with the direct lines found in larger businesses or colleges (or even with the high-speed options available in homes today), this increased upload and download speeds exponentially: now (depending on the speed of the specific peer-to-peer connection), that same MP3 file could usually be downloaded in less time than it would take you to listen to the song it contained. There was still plenty of technological advances yet to come, to the point where you can now go to Bandcamp and download an entire album in about thirty seconds or less, but compared with the way things had been for years prior, this was a pretty amazing development.

At that time, I was just into my early twenties, and very eager to learn about all the music that was out there for me to discover. No longer limited to what was available on the radio or MTV, there was a whole new world now accessible with just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. And so I set out to fill my ears with everything I possibly could. Wikipedia was still in its infancy then, and the Encyclopaedia Metallum had not yet been launched, but I remember finding an invaluable source of information at the now-defunct CDNow.com — which, at the time, was basically the music store equivalent of Amazon.com, who was still primarily involved in selling only books. CDNow had fairly extensive biographical information for most of the artists whose music they sold, and also had an excellent system of recommendations — a series of rabbit holes through which I spend many, many hours wandering. Between all of that online research, and sometimes just stumbling upon random things in the course of conducting Napster searches, I had started to amass quite a sizable library of music, in an ever-broadening range of styles.

The point of all this is that at some time — I guess it was probably around early 2001 — I happened upon a death metal version of Dead Kennedys‘ “California Über Alles” by a band called Six Feet Under, which I thought was well-done, in a somewhat amusing, tongue-in-cheek kind of way. As it turns out, just before this (specifically, in October 2000), the band had released an album called Graveyard Classics which was entirely made up of cover versions of old-school rock, punk, and metal songs — so naturally when I tried searching for more of their material, these were the songs that popped up most often: “Sweet Leaf,” “In League with Satan,” and so on. At the time I didn’t know anything about Six Feet Under, although I did learn that it had first launched as a side project of Chris Barnes who had been the vocalist for Cannibal Corpse. Now that was a band I was at least somewhat familiar with, as a high school classmate had introduced me to their highly disturbing brand of extreme metal back in the early- or mid-90s. Anyway, given that limited amount of information, and the selection of songs I had been finding available for download (for what it’s worth, I later did end up buying a copy of Graveyard Classics), the natural conclusion I drew at that time was that apparently Six Feet Under was essentially the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes of death metal …

I don’t remember exactly when, but eventually I learned the full story behind the band — that they do have original material as well, and that Barnes had decided to shift all his energy here after being expelled from Cannibal Corpse following their first few albums (and not long after forming this side project), for reasons that vary depending on which version of the story you hear, but which may have included being more interested in marijuana than in being seriously committed to the band. Whether there’s any truth to that could be debated endlessly, but I’ve always found it a bit peculiar that there might have been an issue with someone’s seriousness when it comes to membership in a band whose lyrics and titles were so offensive that it was almost cartoonish, and whose artwork was so absurdly graphic that their albums were normally sold mostly (or even entirely) covered with a plain cardboard sleeve. But anyway, none of that is really relevant here — we’re here to discuss Six Feet Under, who have always seemed to (at least at some level) embrace the inherent silliness of the extreme death metal genre — especially when it comes to tackling cover songs that are often, as I noted earlier, clearly intended to be at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

 

Continue reading

Review: Satan – Life Sentence

cover_l

SatanLife Sentence (Listenable Records, 21 May 2013)

 

Hello, readers. As I mentioned a few days ago when I published my list of year-end lists (if you missed it, the collection can be found right here; my own personal list of 2013’s best releases can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom), and as you could certainly tell yourself just by poking around a little bit, I really dropped the ball when it came to getting much writing done last year. And consequently, I neglected to share a great deal of music with you folks. Believe me, I feel bad about that, because there’s so much of it that I’ve been really enjoying listening to, and it’s pretty unfair not to pass that along. So on that note, let’s talk about Satan.

 

Continue reading

The Top Ten Shows I’ve Seen This Year: A Supplemental Video Guide

This was me on Christmas Eve.  In a couple hours, this'll most likely be me again.

This was me on Christmas Eve. In a couple hours, this’ll most likely be me again.

 
Good afternoon, Dear Readers, and a Happy Fucking New Year to you all! I hope you enjoyed the collection of top-ten lists I published yesterday!

Before we finally put 2012 to bed, though, here’s a quick supplemental post to go along with my personal contribution to that conglomerate of lists. I’m calling it…

 

The Top Ten Shows I’ve Seen This Year:

A Supplemental Video Guide

 
Continue reading

The Huge List of 2012 Year-End Lists!

Well, friends, here we find ourselves in the waning moments of 2012. It’s been an interesting, eventful year that’s had lots of high and low points — a ton of excellent new music has been released and quite a few brand-new bands have emerged that I’d fully expect to be making some serious waves in the near future.

One of the best things about 2012, for me personally, was that I found myself (and my wife) going to lots more shows than in recent years, and as a result I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of new people — as well as starting to take a way more active role in the local music scene.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a suggestion from one of those people I’ve gotten to know in the past year (I won’t say who — he said he preferred not to be given credit for the idea, although I will say that it’s somebody who contributed to this). The idea was to collect top-ten lists from various folks in the Pittsburgh metal community.

So I put out an open invitation for any musicians or other people who are involved in the scene in some way — I was looking for anything, whether it was the traditional “Top Ten Albums” or something totally off-the-wall like someone’s ten favorite sandwiches they ate during the year. Really, the only rules were that it had to be a list, and involve something from 2012.

 
Continue reading

Out Today: Cormorant – Dwellings

Cormorant – Dwellings (self-released, 6 December 2011)

image

First off, let me just say, I fucking hate Tuesdays. If I worked with that obnoxious lady from payroll or whatever in Office Space, she’d surely tell me I have a case of the Mondays every Tuesday. See, most people complain about Mondays because they don’t want to go back to work after the weekend, and they’re still a bit groggy throughout that morning. Well, I take this to a higher level, because I basically sleepwalk through Monday, go through the motions without really accomplishing much; you could say I’m virtually dead to the world for the entire day, so I’m more or less numb to how truly awful Monday really is. Then, after getting by on just vapors, I end up completely out of fuel by that night, and start out Tuesday feeling the way most people do on Monday. Anyway, that’s pretty much my story so far today.

There is one good thing I can say for Tuesdays though: that’s most often the day new music gets released. Ordinarily that would not be much of a consolation, but every once in a while, a Tuesday will roll around where there is a new release I have been looking forward to so much, that I almost forget how dreadful it is to be alive that day. Almost. And today is one of those rare days, because I’ve been counting down the days for the past few months, since I first saw the announcement from Californian blackened metal band Cormorant‘s bassist/vocalist/lyricist/spokesperson Arthur von Nagel, and now their new LP, Dwellings, is officially here.

For those out there who are already familiar with this band, and who have heard their earlier releases, you probably pre-ordered this weeks ago, and you are probably already listening to the digital copy while anxiously awaiting the CD (and all its fantastic artwork) to be delivered. If you know their past discography but you haven’t bought the new one yet, then probably you just missed seeing the news or you don’t know where to get it, so here you go: click this link.

If you’re still with me, then I assume you’ve never been exposed to Cormorant or their music before, so keep reading and we’ll go on a little trip through history.
Continue reading