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, Butlers brother-in-law.

Six Feet Under have released nine 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.


After Barnes and West joined forces, they recruited Terry Butler, who knew West from his involvement with Massacre, and Greg Gall, Terry Butlers 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 (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. By this point Chris Barnes had made Six Feet Under his main priority. In 1996, in the process of recording Vile, he parted ways with Cannibal Corpse.

Six Feet Unders 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.

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.

July 13, 1999, saw the release of Six Feet Unders 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 to the Six Feet Under sound with his blistering riffs and the inclusion of solos.

Maximum Violence had sold over 100,000 copies worldwide, a status that hadnt 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.

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 Sabbaths "Sweet Leaf", Deep Purples "Smoke on the Water", and Jimi Hendrixs "Purple Haze".

The groups 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 and mostly slow-paced, but have less static. The musicianship was also improvedand the production is complementary to the brutality, True Carnage peaked on the Billboard Heatseekers charts at number 18.

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.

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

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."

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. The sound quality is good although rather quiet - the liner notes for the album suggest turning your speakers up to maximum volume for a better experience. Overall 13 is a notable return to True Carnage-esque form, with songs like the classic death metal of "Shadow of the Reaper" and "Decomposition of the Human Race".

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 bands 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!

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 bands 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."

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 MTV2s 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. 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).

Terry Butler has left to join fellow death metal band Obituary.

In November of 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 bands 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 Ola Englund. The band says that Rob will remain a central writing partner and fellow collaborator on future Six Feet Under releases.

Source and authors: Wikipedia / list of authors

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