Six Feet Under mastermind Chris Barnes is at it again, following up 2015s “Crypt of the Devil” the band are back already with the fourth version of their “Graveyard Classics” this time, focusing solely on two bands; Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. That’s right, two of the most influential Metal bands, both known specifically for the range their vocalists have, are being covered by this Death Metal band. We are going to split this up into two parts, since the album in split up this way anyways, we will focus on the Priest section first then the Maiden section.
To start off, side one is 5 classic Priest songs and although tuned a little lower, the instrumentals sound great. This side opens with “Night Crawler” off the bands fan favourite album “Painkiller” and right off the bat you can tell how this is going to go. With the slightly lowered instrumentals to match Barnes’ guttural voice, the vocals kick in and for a lot of people, the interest will shut off. Throughout each and every song, the most dynamic change in vocals you get is the change from the growls to the squeals and back again. I’ll give that the first few times, the squeals make me chuckle, but lose their glamour when you realise that these are songs that most metalheads love, falling apart right in front of you. “Genocide” from “Sad Wings of Destiny” is a lot of the same and outside of very minor actual singing shoved in the back and mixed in very low in “Invader” it’s practically all the same as well. It goes without saying that the Priest side is a bust.
Spoiler alert, the Iron Maiden side doesn’t differ much and bothers me twice the amount. Again, while the instrumentals could be a redeeming factor, the practically monotone vocals absolutely destroy it. The best song on this side is probably the opening “Murders in the Rue Morgue” as Paul Di’Anno’s vocals aren’t quite as operatic and ever changing as Bruce Dickinson’s are. “Flash of the Blade” do show off the excellent musicianship of the rest of the band but is much in the same as the rest of the album, if you made it that far, you’re either hoping that something will change or you’re a sadist.
Four installments is enough, it’s time to call it quits on the songs that should never be covered by a Death Metal band. Chris, just bury the idea and make a new series where you cover classic Death Metal songs, hell this is a different band, you could probably even get away with redoing “Hammer Smashed Face” if you really wanted. If you’re fucked up, or maybe you just really like Chris Barnes and never want to forget the good old days, then maybe you should pick this up. If you’re a sensible metalhead who doesn’t want to hear a fourth album of ruined classic Rock/Metal songs, I highly suggest you avoid this.