Six Feet Under

A Decade in the Grave

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When singer Chris Barnes began discussing the possibility of a side project with guitarist Allen West (of Obituary fame) in 1992, a five-disc box set was probably the last thing on his mind. At the time, Cannibal Corpse was Barnes' main gig -- and lavish box sets were for the likes of Led Zeppelin and Elton John, not underground death metal acts. But that side project, Six Feet Under, turned out to have considerable legs -- so considerable that, in 1995, Barnes left Cannibal Corpse (who were well known in death metal/grindcore circles) and made SFU his primary focus. Ten years later, Metal Blade celebrated the band's longevity with A Decade in the Grave, a five-disc box set (four audio CDs plus a DVD) that ranges from the well known to the obscure. The first two discs focus on SFU's better known, more essential stuff; that is where one will find disturbing, twisted, horror-obsessed favorites like "When Skin Turns Blue," "Lycanthropy," "Revenge of the Zombie," and "Feasting on the Blood of the Insane." For serious collectors, the third and fourth discs are full of intrigue; disc three contains rare SFU demos as well as live performances, while the fourth disc is devoted to demos and rehearsal material by Leviathan (the punk-drenched death metal/thrash band that Barnes sang for before Cannibal Corpse or SFU). On the Leviathan tunes (recorded in 1986 and 1987), Barnes' vocal style had yet to become the deep, guttural, menacing growl he is known for. And finally, the DVD offers a blend of videos and live performances. Not everything on A Decade in the Grave is great; some of the rarities are of historic interest more than anything. But then, this set is designed for hardcore collectors -- not casual listeners who are seeking a dose of Introductory SFU 101. And for SFU's most obsessive fans -- the type of moshers who live and breathe SFU -- A Decade in the Grave is worth the price of admission.

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