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Graveyard Classics III by Six Feet Under

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Reviewed on 27th December 2011.


Graveyard Classics III

By Six Feet Under

The problem with SFU cover songs is there is an inherent bias towards them. People get all defensive and throw around idioms such as: "It's not a patch on the original" or "They've ruined a classic"; particularly if you're offended by Chris Barnes' guttural vocal style. Well if you have a predisposed affliction to covers, then I suggest you stay clear of "GYCIII" because it will provoke such nonsensical notions as noted before. However if your willing to be objective, then you're in for a real treat. The godfathers of groovy death metal have reprised their Graveyard Classics series with the third, and arguably the best installment yet.

The album explodes into being with Mercyful Fate's 1984 seminal track "A Dangerous Meeting", and immediately Chris Barnes's outstanding production is apparent. To say the sound is massive would be an injustice; the bass marauds like a creeping pestilence; gargantuan drums, combined with layers of guitar creates a cyclopean wall of resonance and demonic, guttural vocals all equates to the finest sounding Six Feet Under album to date. If you need more proof, then a pulsating version of Van Halen's "On Fire" and a pulverizing rendition of "Pounding Metal"; originally by underground Canadian thrash heroes Exciter, will demonstrate just how far SFU have come since the production disaster that was "True Carnage". Furthermore, any metal fan worth his stripes will be unable to resist cracking a smile at the triumphant "Metal on Metal"; Steve "Lips" Kudlow and the rest of Anvil could have only dreamed of sounding this heavy in 1982.

The record's high points come from the risky tackling of Metallica and Slayer classics: A subpar 'Tallica cover is tantamount to heresy, and a piss-poor Slayer tribute will kill any band's credibility in an instant. Fortunately, through sheer brutality and a guitar tone so crisp, it could decapitate a three ton rhino; SFU avoid catastrophe. "The Frayed Ends of Sanity" is still as complex as it was when Hetfield and Ulrich composed it in 1989; the four separate time signatures changes are effortless and Greg Gall's seamless transition from 192bpm to 96bpm during the track's epic bridge section of riffage, reveals that Six Feet Under are just as talented as any other technical death metal band. The jaw-droppingly monstrous "At Dawn they Sleep" follows; rather than spewing out superlatives, which would be insufficient at describing this behemoth; only one word can begin to convey the intonation of the leviathan track: Armageddon.

There are a few moments where the album doesn't maintain its level of brutality and quality. Curious song choices like, Twisted Sister's "Destroyer" and the album closer: Prong's 1994 hit "Snap your Fingers, Snap your Neck" fail to live up to the high standards set in the first four tracks. However delight can be found in the whimsical covers of Bachman-Turner-Overdrive's: "Not Fragile" and The Ramones favourite: "Psychotherapy".

Overall Six Feet Under have produced an album of timeless songs, with an epically colossal sound. If this seems trivial or unnecessary to you, then you have missed the point. This is an album of celebration, respect, homage and above all else; fun. The enjoyment of each member of the band is audible through all the ridiculous heaviness and excessive brutality; after all, superfluousness is the foundation of heavy metal. This album is solely intended for your reverence of enduring classics; Graveyard Classics.



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