"True Carnage" (Metal Blade; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Sometimes I can't stop laughing when I hear Chris Barnes's deep growling rumble cut through the chunky riffs of Six Feet Under. I, for one, never quite caught on to Cannibal Corpse while Barnes was still a member of that seminal band. But after hearing Six Feet Under it makes me wonder why I'd prefer SFU over Cannibal Corpse. If anything, it probably has a lot to do with SFU's slower pace overall and meatier riffs that the band has been toying around with for over six years now.

I'm lucky that I have friends who have insisted on making me listen to SFU's previous (almost) all-original material studio effort "Maximum Violence." I also waited patiently while I was asked to listen to choice cuts from SFU's all-cover CD "Graveyard Classics" which I found hard to take seriously.

Barnes' can still growl with the best of the genre and it seems he's taken a turn away from the pure gore approach of early Cannibal Corpse to more relevant and modern-day horror-inducing topics. While I find Barnes' efforts in SFU to be neither terrible nor awe-inducing I can tolerate it given the band's choice of material. There are two interesting collaborations on "True Carnage." Ice-T joins Barnes in an intense vocal display on "One Bullet Left" that has Ice-T ripping into a scathing attack on non-believers and Barnes and Karyn Crisis get super gritty on "Sick And Twisted."

Swanson's guitar is dark, dirty, and solid throughout. Take away the speed from death metal and you'll get Six Feet Under's brand of gritty death metal. "Knife, Gun, Axe" has a particular groove to it that actually makes death metal fun. The rhythm section of bassist Butler and drummer Gall keep things nice and tight throughout which makes the band's overall fascination with mayhem all the more interesting.

"True Carnage" contains a video track for "The Day The Dead Walked" which has an appearance as dark and foreboding as the disc's cover artwork (nicely done by world famous tattoo artist/graphic designer Paul Booth).

Undoubtedly, due to Barnes' connection to Cannibal Corpse, former guitarist Allen West's connection to Obituary, and bassist Terry Butler's connection to Death nearly everyone in the metal community as at least heard of Six Feet Under. Despite all those connections to metal's past there's plenty that "True Carnage" offers to fans of death metal.

"True Carnage" was produced by Brian Slagel and Six Feet Under.

Six Feet Under is Chris Barnes on vocals, Steve Swanson on guitars, Terry Butler on bass, and Greg Gall on drums.

For more information visit

"Graveyard Classics" (Metal Blade; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Death metallers Six Feet Under pay homage to their influences in this collection of twelve brutalized cover tunes. The good news is that the music is rock solid and will knock your feet out from under you. Six Feet Under turn heavy into HEAVY with guitars thick enough to bludgeon your enemies to death, bass riffs that echo with thunder and drums that sound like not-so-far-away missile explosions. 

That's the good news.

The bad news is only bad news if you're not normally a fan of death metal. And that's because the vocals on "Graveyard Classics" are typical of the genre. In other words, they're really not much more than the guttural growls that sound like someone's trying to clear their throat way down. And I mean, way down.

Still, any band that can make the likes of AC/DC ("TNT"), Savatage ("Holocaust"), Accept ("Son of a Bitch"), and Venom ("In League With Satan") sound even heavier than before is definitely worth at least one listen. Also covered on "Graveyard Classics" are Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf," Exodus's "Piranha," "Stepping Stone" by the Sex Pistols, Angelwitch's "Confused," Dead Kennedy's "California Uber Alles," Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," The Scorpions "Blackout" (featuring guest vocals by John Bush) and Hendrix's "Purple Haze."

Six Feet Under is Greg Gall - drums; Chris Barnes - vocals; Steve Swanson - guitars; Terry Butler - bass. For more information, please visit

"Maximum Violence" (Metal Blade; 1999)6feet.jpg (18340 bytes)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Maximum Violence" by Six Feet Under is brutal death metal fare with no particular flair or individuality. "Maximum Violence" isn't a bad CD, it just doesn't reach out and grab you by the throat like you want it to. Most of the songs feature raw guitar riffs and throbbing bass and drum licks and the vocals are more accessible than most death metal CDs, but the tempo and delivery of each song makes it virtually undistinguishable from the next. Even a cover of KISS's "War Machine," which begs to be given the death metal treatment, doesn't really deliver, being more slow-paced and lackluster than the original.

"Maximum Violence" was produced by Brian Slagel and Six Feet Under. Guests include Paul Booth on vocals on "Bonesaw," and "The Feed on the Dead Murder Squad" of Chris Carrol, Paul Booth, Terry Butler, Greg Call and Steve Swanson on "Feastin' on the Blood of the Insane." The lyrics were written by Chris Barnes.

Six Feet Under is Terry Butler on bass; Steve Swanson on guitar; Greg Gall on drums and Chris Barnes on vocals.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400.