Not long after I received the new SIX FEET UNDER album Crypt of the Devil from Metal Blade Records I had the chance to speak with vocalist Chris Barnes about it. Truly a long-distance affair, the record was recorded at Phil “LandPhil” Hall’s (CANNABIS CORPSE) Virginia studio. Hall tracked rhythm and bass guitar, while his brother, Josh Hall, tracked drums, and guitarist Brandon Ellis tracked the majority of the album’s leads. Barnes took to London Bridge Studio in his new base of operations in Seattle, Washington to record vocals, and thus the album was born. Rob Caldwell (IRON REAGAN, CANNABIS CORPSE) completed the mix in Sarasota Florida, and if you haven’t heard the results by now, then shame on you. Check out what Chris had to say:
Amps: I got to listen to Crypt of the Devil for the first time today and it’s the only thing that stopped me from killing people in traffic, so thank you for that.
Chris: Hahaha, awesome, man! I’m glad I helped your commute today!
Amps: Tell me about the record. What’s different, but what’s the same SIX FEET UNDER we all know and love?
Chris: I worked with some different people on this one. We just tried to concentrate on the best parts of SIX FEET UNDER, as far as rhythms and the ins and outs of the bands and what I work with well vocally. What I do I try to do well, so I concentrated on that a lot.
Amps: You worked with CANNABIS CORPSE’S Phil “LandPhil” Hall on this record. I’ve interviewed him. That guy is a maniac! How the hell did you guys get anything done?
Chris: (Laughing) Oh Phil’s a great guy and he’s dedicated to music. When it’s time to gedt into writing an album and work on that he’s all business. iIt’s serious when you have to get serious, you know?
Amps: Let’s talk about some of the songs on the record. As good an opener as “Gruesome” is, the album to me is really defined by “Break the Cross In Half”, “Lost Remains”, “Slit Wrists”, and “Stab”. It’s just BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM!! in a row, especially the first and last one of those. Four tunes that just pummel you into submission, you know?
Chris: Right on, I’m glad you like those, man. Those are some of my favorites, too. I tell you, with the songs for this album it was hard to put them in order. But this sequence is what I thought worked best. Like you said, the middle of the record really keeps the momentum driving. It’s hard to sequence a record when all the songs are really good.
Amps: I can only imagine the agony you had sequencing this thing because really any one of these tunes could have been the opener. But this is a record designed to be listened to from start to finish. Just go and leave that bitch on REPEAT.
Chris: That’s a great compliment, I appreciate that.
Amps: As far as touring goes, what’s happening?
Chris: If we do a U.S. tour it’s probably gonna be broken up into two different legs. Just because it’s too costly; you can’t really afford to do it in this day and age. We’ll put something together but I doubt it’s gonna be one huge run. We will do our best to come see everyone.
Amps: Did you send the music down to Florida or did you travel there for Rob Caldwell’s mix?
Chris: We sent it to him and he took care of it. I live in Seattle now and I’ve had my fill of Florida (laughs). It’s nice to go down there to see my family but other than that I’m happy where I’m at.
Amps: When you’re not writing for SIX FEET UNDER what’s in your CD player?
Chris: Today I just had some SOUNDGARDEN on, Superunknown. Chris Cornell is just awesome.
Amps: If you had to pick ONE favorite track from Crypt of the Devil what would it be?
Chris: Oh jeez, man…hmmm…I really like “Open Coffin Orgy”.
Amps: What are some of your favorite cities or venues to play?
Chris: Anywhere there are people to listen, man. It’s always a good time wherever we go. As long as there are people up front with some smiles on their faces having a good time, that’s the place I wanna be.
Chris: That’s a good question, you know? I’ve spent pretty much my whole life doing this and concentrating on it. I haven’t really thought about that.
Amps: What would be a dream bill for you, like the Mother of All Road Packages?
Chris: Oh man…I don’t know. I guess whatever tour the fans will have the most fun at. You know the booking agents take care of all that, so I’ve never had to think about it.
Amps: Any newer bands out there doing it for you or no?
Chris: Not really. I don’t listen to too much new stuff. if I’m gonna listen to music it’s the older stuff I grew up on.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the fans of your work?
There you have it. Chris Barnes is just a simple, down-to-earth guy who does what he loves. He just happens to do it in one helluva band called SIX FEET UNDER. There’s no nonsense with him, no bullshit, and this was just two metalheads having a good conversation. As I said earlier, if you haven’t already heard Crypt of the Devil, get your ears checked, because it’s one badass slab of Death Metal!!