There's just something about Philip Anselmo that most metal fans don't get. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that even most of those hardcore Pantera fans don't fully understand the motives and direction that Anselmo takes half the time. More than just about any other musician in metal history, Anselmo is the single guy that has taken a lot of varied metal styles to the masses. Through his notoriety as a legend with Pantera, Anselmo has been able to introduce much more extreme types of metal to the majority of metalheads that would probably have never listened otherwise. Speaking only for myself, my first exposure to such varied music as Anal Cunt, Necrophagia, Christ Inversion, Arson Anthem and Superjoint Ritual all came SOLELY because of Anselmo's involvement with those projects. It has NOTHING to do with any music at all that I heard prior to picking up those releases. To be honest, I haven't liked all of it, but I don't think that's really what it's about for Anselmo anyway. To his credit, he lives and dies metal...all kinds of metal...and he is out to create as much of it as humanly possible.
Six Feet Under
It's not at all hard to continue on the death metal journey that's known as Six Feet Under. Regardless of the band being fronted by the most significant growler this genre has ever seen, the band always delivers solid doses of high end heavy metal that, unlike most death metal, doesn't rely on hyperspeed to mask shoddy playing. To the contrary, I might call Six Feet Under the very original, true metalcore band in the sense that they brought a touch of melody to the sound and then mixed vocal brutality to that from day one. These days, damn near every single one of the new age metal bands does that, but back when Six Feet Under debuted, they were fairly unique upon themselves for doing just that. Certainly, the members of the band have changed along the way, but UNBORN simply continues the heritage Chris Barnes started with this band. In short, UNBORN is pretty much what we've all come to expect from Six Feet Under.
THE BEST OF US BLEED
As a fan of both death metal and Cryptopsy, I have to question why this band, or any other death metal band for that matter, would even bother with a greatest hits release that is fleshed out with live tracks and demos. Especially a band with years on them like Cryptopsy. I wonder specifically about the demo inclusion for any band like this. Let's face it, as a fan of death metal over the last 20 years, we've all learned to accept some pretty demo sounding music in these types of band's actual releases. To say the least, so many great death metal albums had terrible sound to begin with, so hearing songs even more poorly recorded or before they were fleshed out really has no appeal to me. Additionally, Cryptopsy is one such band that's had some dodgy sounding material in the past, so hearing this music contrasted against a few new recordings really points that out as well.
BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION
Holy Suffocation, is this a tribute band? Actually, it's not. Dehuman is a Belgian death metal band that claims themselves to be an "old school death metal" band, and they are certainly right on the mark with that. BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION certainly could have done well in 1996 or so...long before this genre was uprooted and bastardized by all the influence of Metalcore to ruin future generations of sonic death.
While I appreciate the old school sound that Dehuman has, they unfortunately sound like they might have recorded with gear that hasn't been updated since the '90s as well.
Job For A Cowboy
For many years now, Job For A Cowboy has been somewhat of a whipping post for me. From their start, they were a metalcore band that wanted to be a death metal band, but were seemingly afraid to take it all the way over the edge and become just that. Their album GENESIS was kind of laughable to be honest; a collection of songs from a band that wasn't sure if they wanted to hop on the trend or have integrity. Their followup, RUINATION was a step in the right direction, but still featured a bit too much of that deathcore spirit for my taste. Somewhere along the way though, Job For A Cowboy must have heard from guys like me that wanted them to become a full fledged death metal band and stop messing around with trendy gimmicks. DEMONOCRACY is just what the doctor always ordered from them - full on brilliant death metal.