Various Artists

Deep Six

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It may not cover as much geographic or stylistic ground, but Deep Six beat Sub Pop 200 to the market by more than just a month or two -- several years. Some of the songs (or versions thereof) would turn up on subsequent recordings -- the three by Soundgarden, Melvins' "Grinding Process," and Skin Yard's "The Birds" -- but most can only be found here (assuming listeners can even find a copy). If many of these musicians would be doing better work by the late '80s, Deep Six -- which works better on a historical level than an aesthetic one -- still documents a formative period in Northwest rock history. The garage rock of the Sonics and the Wailers in the '60s had led to the album rock of Heart in the '70s and the progressive metal of Queensryche in the '80s. The proto-grunge bands here all borrow from and expand on those influences in some way or another. A few would even move away from grunge to a more arena-ready sound in the years to come, such as Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone (featuring members of Malfunkshun and Green River), and Pearl Jam (featuring members of Green River). Mudhoney, who rose (as it were) from the ashes of Green River, would take a less-commercial, more garage-oriented approach (as would Nirvana in their early years). By the time the Seattle scene exploded just a few years later, several of these bands were gone (or no longer together in this form) and one particularly charismatic musician (Andrew Wood from Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone) had passed away. Melvins -- sans Mudhoney's Matt Lukin -- had even moved to the Bay Area, leaving their tag as a Seattle band behind. Deep Six was local label C/Z Records' first release and was later reissued by A&M. C/Z would go on to release recordings by Melvins, Skin Yard (who featured producer Jack Endino of Bleach fame), and a number of others.

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