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Where Graveyard Classics 2 faltered heavily in its attempt to recreate the AC/DC Back in Black album in a death & roll context, its follower returns to the formula of the first unnecessary Six Feet Under covers album: an even distribution of agony as the band numbs and butchers its way through ten metal, rock and punk classics, with a heavy emphasis on the first category. I'm not sure how Chris Barnes got another green light for this, and it certainly doesn't need to exist. However, to be fair, there is a distinct increase in enthusiasm above the first two Graveyard Classics, perhaps due to the fact that several of the choices just work better with the brute vocals, and elude the shocking impotence of their previous covers.
I'm speaking primarily of Slayer's "At Dawn They Sleep" and Metallica's "The Frayed Ends of Sanity", both of which show more effort in their tribute than I think Steve Swanson has manifest through any of the Six Feet Under original albums. The guitars actually sound decent, even inspired, and though Barnes' bludgeoning gutturals are nearly as pathetic as always, they fit better into the mesh of dark, thrashing riffs than they do above the punk or rock tracks like the Ramones' "Psychotherapy" or Van Halen's "On Fire". Hell, maybe they should next put out an album of death metal tunes that their peers wrote. Nevermind, forget I suggested it. Sadly, while the band choose some prize material in the classic metal category, like Anvil's "Metal on Metal" or Exciter's "Pounding Metal", the guitars sound once again lifeless, and the vocals corny and pedestrian at best. Swanson does a decent job with Mercyful Fate's "A Dangerous Meeting", but Barnes proves that he's no proxy for the King, even in an ironic sense.
Ultimately, this third volume is a lot easier to digest than either of its precursors, thanks to the better production and superior choice in material. The Metallica and Slayer tunes would have made for decent free downloads on their website. But as a whole, it's unlikely to appeal to anyone outside of the Six Feet Under fanbase (assuming there is one), and by no means are any of the renditions memorable. The question is, will this ever end? Can we expect a Graveyard Classics IV? A XIV? If that unfortunately turns out to be true, then I can only hope Barnes and company will stick to the heavier material, which sounds at least competent in their resin-stained hands.
When discussing a band like Six Feet Under, it can be somewhat difficult for me to uphold the appearance of objectivity due to how much I fucking hate them, so if you think I’m being unfair here, then good for you. It’s also quite the challenge simply listening to these brain-dead morons and the equally retarded death/groove inbred they spawned around a decade and a half ago. However, when hearing this abomination of a band covering legends like Slayer and Mercyful Fate, it just becomes unbearable, and is something I never, ever want to experience again.
Butchering yet another 10 tracks beyond recognition, Six Feet Under’s latest failure is the third, and hopefully final installment of the painfully abysmal Graveyard Classics, as well as the most excruciating of the three to listen to. Everything about this is just so god damn infuriating, and it makes me sick seeing so many classic songs being done such horrific injustice. As expected, it is Chris Barnes’ horrendous vocal performance which does the most damage here, and is further proof of why he is just about the worse thing to ever happen to metal. His piss-weak grunts and growls have plummeted even further down the drain, with practically no power and conviction in them, not to mention absolutely appalling diction, and those high-pitched, sneer-like shrieks which constantly make appearances are so despicable, God slaughters a baby seal every time he does one. It’s honestly like he’s just doing this for shits and giggles his performance is that laughable, and if this clown doesn’t want to put any effort into making an album, then I sure as hell don’t want to put any effort into listening to it.
The guitarist also does a fantastic job at castrating the originals into a pile of flat, dull and unmotivated drivel, injecting each track with this godawful down-tuned, mid-paced, groovy swagger. Fuck, they might as well have just cut off King Diamond’s balls personally their cover of “A Dangerous Meeting” is that limp and wimpish, along with the balls of all the other band members these douchebags have dishonored with this atrocity. The only things really adding any intensity to the album are the guitar leads and solos, which have a pretty killer tone to them, but that’s about it. Everything is just so lifeless in comparison with the originals, severely lacking the character they had, and drained almost entirely of that energy which made them so great.
Also neutering the album of any real punch, is the clear, plain sheen of the production. While it may give the instrumentation a clean, refined sound, it also sounds incredibly insipid and weak, which unlike the originals, provides absolutely no atmosphere. The drumming is terribly unconvincing to match, and is very, very lazy, especially the Bachman Turner Overdrive cover “Not Fragile.” The bass player doesn’t fare much better either, delivering a completely forgettable performance as it’s practically inaudible throughout the album’s entirety, apart from a few occasions here and there.
Given the dreadful quality of the past Graveyard Classics as well as Six Feet Under’s material in general, it didn’t really come as much of a surprise to me at how woeful this album would be, but nevertheless, this shit is inexcusably abominable, and further cements Chris Barnes’ title as the worse thing to ever happen to metal firmly in place. Definitely time for him to find a new hobby I’d say. Apart from smoking weed that is.
There is no denying that the US Death Metal act Six Feet Under is a talented band, even after their mid-life crisis when they belted out some Death 'N Roll albums thanks to the "success" of their Graveyard Classics album. Luckily the band wised up and reverted back to their metal ways after the nightmare that was Graveyard Classics 2 and the lightheartedly acclaimed Bringer Of Blood. Upon hearing the band intended to issue yet another entry into the their cover album series, it came with anticipation and dismay, and many wondered who would fall victim this time like AC/DC has. Shockingly, if you expect another cover album abomination with Graveyard Classics 3, then you will be greatly let down, as this one is no joking matter.
Just about every song on here is a cover of an already heavy and intense metal track, with the exceptions being "Not Fragile", "On Fire", "Psychotherapy", and "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck". The prospect of vocalist Chris Barnes attempting to reach the high falsettos for the Mercyful Fate cover of "A Dangerous Meeting" is great, but non existent, as the songs follow the same formula as the previous releases: Being essentially the same song, but having a heavy spin added, and the vocals being replaced by gutteral vocals. By following this pattern, Six Feet Under managed to belt out some rather impressive Death Metal covers of some really great songs, such as the aforementioned "A Dangerous Meeting". And what's more, their rendition of the Metallica track "The Frayed Ends of Sanity" is actually really kick ass and enjoyable to even those who look at that band as highly overrated or with any sort of disgust.
But, given the band's previous releases, there's a few elements many will go into the album worrying about. First of all, yes the pig squeel thing Chris does lately does exist on here, but primarily on the covers of the more Hard Rock-oriented tracks like "Not Fragile" and "On Fire". THe production quality of the album is perhaps some of the best that the band has had in a long time, if not ever, and the vocals on here are the best that they have sounded since the band's early days, as some of the more recent releases sounded horrible due to some serious abuse from boosting the bass in his vocals. Aside the stunning production quality, the music is absolutely fantastic and every track on here is either a fun romp through memory lane, or just a very well done Death Metal version of some of metal's finest histortical pieces.
The real stand outs on here would have to be the Hard Rock and Punk tracks that are covered. While hearing Death Metal renditions of Excited and Slayer tracks are great, it's nothing at all new. However, to sit down and hear a cover of Van Halen's "On Fire" and even Twisted Sister's "Destroyer" that is actually serious and well put together makes the album truly worth it. Keeping more in the vein of the first Graveyard Classics release, the band seems to have taken these covers more seriously, and the outcome is some stellar material. "Destroyer" does come off a bit boring after a while, clearly not fairing well from the transition to Death Metal, but the guitar solo is pretty impressive, and the cover of the Ramone's song "Psychtherapy" the follows both make up for the rather drawn out song.
Expect some pretty good thing from Graveyard Classics 3, and if you enjoy any of these bands, as well as Six Feet Under, then this release is one that you really have to check out. Every track on here, with the exception of "Destroyer", is a solid port over to a very serious Death Metal sound. Some of the tracks on here may even rub off on you as being better then the originals from some of the bands that garnish both love and hate from people within the styles, such as the covers of "Psychotherapy" and "The Frayed Ends of Sanity", and even the overly covered in the general Metal world song "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck". While it's not album of the year material, it's still a great album that you'll listen to more then once for reasons other then a quick laugh.
Originally posted on Apoch's Metal Review