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Music / Chris Barnes

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The man himself, circa 2015

One of the most influential, longest-running, iconic, infamous, and recognizable Death Metal musicians of all time, Chris Barnes (born December 29, 1967) has gained a reputation over the years for his explicit violent lyrics and unique polarizing approach to his vocals.

He has been involved in numerous projects, but he is best known as the original vocalist for Cannibal Corpse, appearing on four albums and performing on the band's most famous material. Starting on their sophomore album Butchered at Birth, he developed his now-trademark hoarse guttural style of singing, which would go on to influence the death growl vocal style as contemporary listeners know it. During his stint with the band, he gained infamy for his exceptionally disturbing lyrical compositions, which were partially to blame for Cannibal Corpse getting banned in several countries for years, and involved extreme acts of sex, violence, gore, and any combination of those things pushed to their limits for the time.


In 1993, two years before he left Cannibal Corpse due to creative differences and clashing with the other band members, he formed the band Six Feet Under with Obituary guitarist Allen West as a side project, which became a full-time band after he left CC. Able to write in his comfort zone, SFU featured a groovier, catchier, simpler, less serious style of death metal than most other bands in the genre. Today, Chris is best-known for being the creative force behind SFU, being their only remaining original member to this day. He has also done work with the Finnish band Torture Killer, named after the song of the same name.

Aside from his work as a vocalist, he is also a pretty renowned producer and marijuana enthusiast.


Discography with Cannibal Corpse:

  • Eaten Back to Life (1990)
  • Butchered at Birth (1991)
  • Tomb of the Mutilated (1992)
  • The Bleeding (1994)

Discography with Six Feet Under:

  • Haunted (1995)
  • Warpath (1997)
  • Maximum Violence (1999)
  • True Carnage (2001)
  • Bringer of Blood (2003)
  • 13 (2005)
  • Commandment (2007)
  • Death Rituals (2008)
  • Undead (2012)
  • Unborn (2013)
  • Crypt of the Devil (2015)

Discography with Torture Killer:

  • Swarm! (2006)

Chris Barnes and his music provide example of the following:

  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Being the one of the codifiers of traditional death metal themes, he utilizes a lot of the cliches he started in his lyric writing.
  • Careful with That Axe: His signature ear-splitting screech can definitely have this effect.

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