One day there was this band called Cannibal Corpse who were part of a great little scene of American Death Metal bands who wanted to be heavy; not good, not bad, not mind blowing, not anything but heavy. When you, the drug addled dickhead fans thought of heavy, they wanted you to think of them. It worked. I was a drug addled dickhead fan, and I came to think of heavy as Earache and Combat/Relativity stabled bands. Death, Morbid Angel, Godflesh…shit, you know the litany. Chances are you OWN the litany. Just as any real metalhead MUST own Killers, Screaming for Vengeance, Power and Glory and Ace of Spades so must they own Streetcleaner, Altars of Madness, In Battle there Is No Law and Left Hand Path, or at least SOMETHING by these bands from that epoch.
And you must also own Tomb of the Mutilated or Butchered at Birth, and you must smile to think of the way Chris Barnes’ voice was too much for even some of your fellow metalheads when you all first heard him sing…er…vocalize. But you kept on listening, because the riffs were too good, too groovy and sick and Metal to ignore.
And perhaps you, as I, were kind of happy to see Barnes depart and make way for Corpsegrinder and the fantastic Vile, because all things considered, Barnes was sometimes more distraction than compliment. And perhapse you, as I, listened to Six Feet Under’s debut more out of curiosity than excitement, just to see if Barnes would do something to try to out-extreme ‘Corpse. And perhapse you, as I, listened to that debut and remarked quietly to yourself ”Jesus, this shit is boring.”
And now here we are, already staring down the barrel of a Six Feet Under retrospective. As though the band had released a Bob Dylanesque volume of memorable material in a short period of time and this might be the only chance for a young, wide eyed fan to comprehend the breadth and scope of a great artist’s journey through a tumultuous decade of growth and change. Are you fucking kidding me? Hilarious.
We at MetalReview were given a one CD sampler of the four disc boxed set, and frankly it was more than adequate. Six Feet Under can best be described as Death Metal Lite. Chugging, repetitive, rarely blasting, never challenging, corny lyrics and Barnes’ trademark Cookie Monster with Herpes vocal style. Why this band caught the average metalhead’s imagination I will never understand, but there you are. If my local used CD shop is any indicator you can have the entire original collection four times over for around $20.
None of which is germane, I suppose, to the review at hand. 4 discs IS a wealth of recorded material, with demos, live tracks and greatest hits, plus there is a DVD with footage of the band doing what the band does. So, if you are a SFU diehard fan with some extra cash and the burning desire to hear some sloppy demos and watch your favorite band play your favorite songs in the comfort of your living room, this may very well be the perfect way for you to spend said extra cash.
But the thing is, there are already live recordings and DVDs wandering around, there are the original records and I am sure the demos can’t be that hard to get at. And if you are THAT big a fan of SFU…don’t you already have all this material? This is NOT 1970, records are NOT vinyl only, bootlegs are an online tape trade away and you can’t fucking spit without drudging up EVERY band’s “hard to find” material. I am all for a band making whatever money they can while they can, but as little as I think of the readers of this site and people in general, asking me to recommend this obvious cash grab collection to anyone is akin to asking me to kiss my proctologist’s finger before the probe.
For the bottom line I ask you to consider very carefully whether you want to endorse another needless ten year retrospective from a band that anyone frequenting this site either ignores or already owns everything by.