Six Feet Under (band)

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Six Feet Under
12-08 Wacken SFU 05.jpg
Background information
Origin Tampa, Florida, United States
Genres Death metal
Years active 1993–present
Labels Metal Blade
Associated acts Cannibal Corpse, Torture Killer, Obituary, Death, Chimaira, Brain Drill, Dååth, The Haunted
Website Official SFU website
Members Chris Barnes
Steve Swanson
Marco Pitruzzella
Jeff Hughell
Past members Terry Butler
Greg Gall
Allen West
Rob Arnold
Matt DeVries
Kevin Talley
Ola Englund

Six Feet Under is an American death metal band from Tampa, Florida, formed in 1993. The band was originally a side project by Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes with guitarist Allen West of Obituary. They were joined by bassist Terry Butler (formerly of Massacre and Death) and drummer Greg Gall, Butler's brother-in-law.

Six Feet Under have released ten albums, and are listed by Nielsen Soundscan as the fourth best-selling death metal act in the U.S., with album sales over 370,000 (sales numbers are taken from 2003).[1]


Formation, Haunted, and Warpath (1993–1997)[edit]

After Barnes and West joined forces, they recruited Terry Butler, who knew West from his involvement with Massacre, and Greg Gall, Terry Butler's brother-in-law. Six Feet Under first played in 1993 at clubs, performing mostly cover songs. The band began writing original material in the middle of 1994. Because Barnes was already signed to Metal Blade Records with Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under signed to this label.

Their first album, Haunted, was released on September 1, 1995. Haunted was produced by Brian Slagel (who discovered Slayer) and Scott Burns (record producer) (who discovered Sepultura and worked with Napalm Death, and Deicide, among others). Unlike either of the members' main bands, Six Feet Under did not play many guitar solos on the album, and the songwriting was still a work-in-progress. However, the grooves and the distinct vocals were praised.[2] By this point Chris Barnes had made Six Feet Under his main priority. In 1996, in the process of recording the album Vile, he parted ways with Cannibal Corpse.

Six Feet Under's next release was the Alive and Dead EP on October 29, 1996. A dual studio/live EP, it contains three studio recordings ("Insect", "Drowning", and a Judas Priest cover, "Grinder") and four tracks from Haunted performed live. The band released their second studio album, Warpath, on September 9, 1997. Of note are the tracks "Death or Glory", which is a cover of the Holocaust song, and "4:20", which showcases Barnes' clean vocals and his love of marijuana. "4:20", duration four minutes and 20 seconds, was recorded on April 20, 1997 at 4:20 pm.[citation needed]

Maximum Violence and Graveyard Classics (1998–2000)[edit]

In 1998, Allen West left to rejoin Obituary and was replaced by Steve Swanson, formerly of Massacre. This is the only line-up change that the band has had until January 2011. Combined with Barnes' departure from Cannibal Corpse, the arrival of Swanson helped turn Six Feet Under from a mere side-project to a band in its own right.[3]

July 13, 1999, saw the release of Six Feet Under's third studio album, Maximum Violence. As the name of the album suggests, the lyrics on this release are much more violent than on past releases. The band also recorded a death-metal retooling of the Kiss song "War Machine". Steve Swanson brought a revamped crunch[clarification needed] to the Six Feet Under sound with his blistering riffs and the inclusion of solos.[citation needed]

Maximum Violence had sold over 100,000 copies worldwide,[citation needed] a status that hadn't been reached for a while for a death metal band during the late '90s when death metal was a dying genre. It led to some unexpected promotional events for the band. During the summer of 2000, Six Feet Under participated in the Vans Warped Tour, a festival that, at the time, usually featured punk rock bands.[4]

Further pursuing their interest in cover songs, Six Feet Under released an album entirely of covers, Graveyard Classics, on October 24, 2000. The songs were given death metal makeovers in regards to the timbre of the vocals and instruments, but the original riffs and rhythms of the songs were left intact. Songs include Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf", Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", and Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze".

True Carnage and Bringer of Blood (2001–2003)[edit]

The group's fifth studio album, True Carnage (August 7, 2001), was also their first recording to feature guest artists: Ice-T raps while Barnes roars on "One Bullet Left", and Karyn Crisis joins Barnes for "Sick and Twisted". The songwriting on True Carnage is more groove-oriented than past songs. The tracks are still crashing[clarification needed] and mostly slow-paced, but have less static. The musicianship was also improved[citation needed], and the production is complementary to the brutality.[clarification needed] True Carnage peaked on the Billboard Heatseeker's charts at number 18.[5]

Six Feet Under undertook a lengthy bout of American tours, commencing in the summer of 2002, with supporters Skinless and Sworn Enemy. Their June 14 performance was recorded for a DVD and live album release, Double Dead Redux. September 2002 saw the band touring with Hatebreed. Around Christmas 2002, they participated in some European festivals with bands such as Kataklysm and Dying Fetus.[6]

The band next released Bringer of Blood, on September 23, 2003. The tuning on this album is very dark and murky.[clarification needed] In addition to his trademark guttural vocals, Barnes also began using higher pitched pig squeal vocals on this release.

Graveyard Classics 2, 13, and A Decade in the Grave (2004–2006)[edit]

Graveyard Classics 2 came out on October 19, 2004. This cover album focused solely on the 1980 AC/DC album Back in Black. Allmusic reviewer Wade Kergan remarked that the death metal-makeover on these forefather songs "are equal parts menace and kitsch... Six Feet Under are obviously having a blast as they rip through them."[7]

Six Feet Under released their sixth studio album on March 21, 2005, entitled 13. While writing the lyrics, Chris Barnes reportedly entered "a vision" from smoking large quantities of marijuana and meditating.[8]

Metal Blade Records issued A Decade in the Grave on October 28, 2005, a five-disc box set. The first two discs are 'best-of' material, the third is a rarities collection, the fourth disc is from one of the band's first concerts back in 1995, and the final disc is a live DVD from 2005.

In November 2005, Chris Barnes joined the Finnish death metal band Torture Killer as lead vocalist for a side project. His new bandmates saw this as a huge compliment, having started out as a Six Feet Under and Obituary cover band. Barnes sung vocals on their 2006 studio album Swarm!

Commandment, Death Rituals, Graveyard Classics 3 (2007-2010)[edit]

Six Feet Under toured for the majority of 2006 before hitting the studios to record their next album, Commandment, which was released on April 17, 2007. The album works within the band's formula. According to music critic Chad Bowar, the album has "catchy death metal songs... [that are] crushingly heavy, but also have a great groove to them."[9]

Six Feet Under played Metalfest 2007 tour alongside openers Finntroll, Belphegor, and Nile, their most heavily-promoted tour to date. A Six Feet Under first was seen in promotion of Commandment. Although the band has tried airing music videos in the past, all were banned. However, a music video for "Doomsday" aired on MTV2's Headbangers Ball, starting on November 10 of that year.

On December 24, 2007, Six Feet Under announced on their website that they would go to the studio in early 2008 to record a new album.[10] The album, titled Death Rituals, was released on Metal Blade Records on November 11, 2008 in the US, and November 17, 2008 in the UK.

As announced on January 31, 2008 Chris Barnes officially parted ways with Torture Killer, to be replaced by Juri Sallinen. Drummer Greg Gall is currently writing and recording material with a new band called Exitsect, along with guitarist Sam Williams (Denial Fiend, Down by Law), bassist Frank Watkins (Obituary, Gorgoroth), guitarist Joe Kiser (Murder-Suicide Pact, Slap Of Reality) and vocalist Paul Pavlovich (Assück).[11][12]

Graveyard Classics 3 was released on January 19, 2010.[13]

Undead, and Unborn (2011-2013)[edit]

Terry Butler has left to join fellow death metal band Obituary in early 2011, Drummer Greg Gall also had left.

In November 2011, Rob Arnold and Matt Devries posted statements saying they have departed from Chimaira to play in Six Feet Under full-time. However, in 2012, Matt Devries left the band to join Fear Factory, replacing longtime bassist Byron Stroud. The vacant position was subsequently filled by ex-Brain Drill 7-string bassist, Jeff Hughell.

The band's ninth studio album Undead was released on May 22, 2012. It was also announced on the same day that Rob Arnold would be replaced by Swedish guitarist Ola Englund of bands Feared and Scarpoint. The band says that Rob will remain a central writing partner and fellow collaborator on future Six Feet Under releases.

The band released their tenth album Unborn on March 19, 2013.

According to a recent interview on March 21, 2013, Barnes is already writing material for the band's next album.[14]

In 2013 guitarist Ola Englund and drummer Kevin Talley departed the band. Marco Pitruzzella took over drum duties.

Crypt of the Devil (2014-present)[edit]

On March 4, 2015, it was announced that the band would release its eleventh studio album, Crypt of the Devil on May 5.[15]

Musical style[edit]

Chris formed Six Feet Under with the intention of writing death metal that wasn't simply about blast beats and speed. They play a more groove oriented style of death metal, performing slower, or more mid-tempo paced songs than most death metal acts. Barnes' lyrical style has changed little since his departure from Cannibal Corpse, though the lyrical content is not as shocking (i.e. killing women, children, etc.) as that of his first band. Today, Chris writes about violence, gore and death, with some political leanings, such as the legality of marijuana and criticism of the government.[16]




Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales



  • Released: September 26, 1995
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
  • Released: September 9, 1997
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
Maximum Violence
  • Released: July 13, 1999
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
30 68
True Carnage
  • Released: August 7, 2001
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, CS, digital download
18 12 40 69
Bringer of Blood
  • Released: September 23, 2003
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download
22 20 36
  • Released: March 22, 2005
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
36 41 51 62
  • Released: April 17, 2007
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
12 37 58 70
Death Rituals
  • Released: November 11, 2008
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
14 64
  • Released: May 22, 2012
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
186 6 33 65
  • Released: March 19, 2013
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
17 85 148
Crypt of the Devil
  • Released: May 5, 2015
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Cover albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales

Graveyard Classics
  • Released: October 24, 2000
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
Graveyard Classics 2
  • Released: October 19, 2004
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD
Graveyard Classics 3
  • Released: January 19, 2010
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Double Dead
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Alive and Dead
  • Released: October 29, 1996
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Video albums[edit]

Title Video details
Maximum Video
  • Released: May 22, 2001
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: VHS, DVD
Double Dead
  • Released: January 30, 2003
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: DVD
Live with Full Force
  • Released: August 17, 2004
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: DVD
Wake the Night: Live in Germany
  • Released: January 27, 2011
  • Label: Metal Blade Records
  • Formats: DVD

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
1996 "Lycanthropy"
1997 "Manipulation" David Roth[27]
1999 "Victim of the Paranoid"
2002 "The Day the Dead Walked"
2003 "Amerika the Brutal" David Aronson[28]
2004 "Bringer of Blood" Ronald Matthes[29]
"Dead & Buried (Living Life in the Grave)" Jerry Clubb[30]
2005 "Shadow of the Reaper" Gary Smithson[31]
"Deathklaat" Ronald Matthes[32]
2007 "Ghosts of the Undead" Mario Framingheddu[33][34][35]
2008 "Seed of Filth"
2012 "18 Days"


  1. ^ (2005-03-02). "It's Official: Cannibal Corpse are the best-selling death metal band of the SoundScan Era". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  2. ^ "Haunted". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  3. ^ Six Feet Under biography on Metal Realm
  4. ^ The Gauntlet: Six Feet Under
  5. ^ Review of Six Feet Under, True Carnage, on Metal Judgment
  6. ^ Six Feet Under Biography on Rockdetector
  7. ^ Review of Six Feet Under, Graveyard Classics 2, on
  8. ^ Six Feet Under: Biography on Metal Station
  9. ^ Review of Six Feet Under, Commandment
  10. ^ Six Feet Under official website
  11. ^ Six Feet Under on Metal
  12. ^ Exitsect Myspace
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Morgan, Anthony (June 2007). ""Ghosts of the Undead" - Six Feet Under vocalist Chris Barnes delivers ten bludgeons of his philosophical hatchet with seventh record Commandment". Lucem Fero. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  17. ^ a b c d
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "SIX FEET UNDER: 'OctoberDeath' Tour 'Postponed'". Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  27. ^ "Six Feet Under to Issue Live DVD in November". Roadrunner Records. 2002-09-11. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  28. ^ "Amerika the Brutal". MTV. MTV Networks. 2003-08-20. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  29. ^ Live with Full Force (DVD booklet). Six Feet Under. Eislingen, Germany: Metal Blade Records. 2004. p. 4. 3984-34038-9. 
  30. ^ "Dead and Buried (Living Life in the Grave)". MTV. MTV Networks. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  31. ^ "Shadow of the Reaper". MTV. MTV Networks. 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  32. ^ "Deathklaat". MTV. MTV Networks. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  33. ^ "Ghosts of the Undead". MTV. MTV Networks. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  34. ^ "Doomsday". MTV. MTV Networks. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  35. ^ "Seed of Filth". MTV. MTV Networks. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 

External links[edit]