Monday, January 3, 2011

Review #197: Deep Six (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Post-Punk/Heavy Metal/Hardcore Punk
Label: C/Z Records

43 Minutes
My Rating:

Look, I know I already wrote a review of this record, but I wrote that one over a year ago and my early reviews didn't do that record very much justice (just ice!), so I'm re-doing it because it's fun to revisit cool records like that anyways.

DEEP SIX is sort of like the first "grunge" record, not counting the first Green River album, because besides that album it was the first official appearance for many of the more famous northwest punk/metal bands such as Soundgarden, the Melvins, Malfunkshun, etc. And like the title suggests, there are SIX bands featured on this record, some contributing more than others. Also the debut release from C/Z Records, with the second being the first Melvins EP. You'll hear some early Green River tunes, the Melvins still in their hardcore punk mode, a very lo-fi Soundgarden, one wild U-Men tune, and some of only Malfunkshun songs ever released in Andrew Wood's lifetime. Also Skin Yard with saxophones! These six bands all visited the Ironwood Studios in Seattle, Washington and recorded some songs, because very few labels were around to make records for the bands so this was a first opportunity for many of the Seattle rock bands that didn't fall into the other aging scenes. Look, "GRUNGE" is just a term made up by the mainstream media who were and have always been oblivious to the idea of punk authenticity and the idea that not every style of music has a super-specific sound. Metal isn't ONLY just angry guys wearing all black groaning about Satan and punk isn't ONLY just people with mohawks playing really fast music about anarchy. The mainstream media, unaware of this concept, because all of these new bands weren't living stereotypes, dubbed it "grunge" because the only stereotype you could pin on '90s underground rock bands were that they all looked kind of "grungy". Green River didn't come up with the term, they said, "PURE GRUNGE! PURE SHIT!" -- it was a joke, "grunge" was originally a term for grime and dirt, very fitting in this context. Nirvana? Heavy version of the Beatles. Alice in Chains? Soundgarden? Sound like fucking Black Sabbath. Pearl Jam? '70s hard rock with twangy vocals. Mudhoney? A really good Stooges rip-off. You see where I'm getting at here. These bands were essentially revisiting styles of music that already existed but actually managed to sound original because. But they had nothing in common besides taking a lot of cues from '70s heavy metal. Anyways, who cares? Apparently I cared enough to write all that, so there's yer answer, dudde. "Dudde". "Dudde Castles". "Come see them". "The Dudde Castles, a historical site for your viewing pleasure, eeeheheheheee!!".

Well, where was I going with this? Oh yes, Deep Six! It's got songs from all six bands, so let's cut to the chase and start listening to DEEP SIX, shall we? Okay. Here we go. One two three four five six seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen. Twenty. Twenty One. Twenty Two. Twenty Three. Twenty Four. Twenty Five. Twenty Six. Twenty Seven. Twenty Eight. Twenty Nine. Thirty. Thirty One. Thirty Two. Thirty Three. Thirty Four. Thirty Five. Thirty Six. Thirty Seven. Thirty Eight. Thirty Nine. Forty. Forty One. Forty Two. Forty Three. Forty Four. Forty Five. Forty Six. Forty Seven. Forty Eight. Forty Nine. Fifty. Fifty One. Fifty Two. Fifty Three. Fifty Four. Fifty Five. Fifty Six. Fifty Seven. Fifty Eight. Fifty Nine. Sixty. Sixty One. Sixty Two. Sixty Three. Sixty Four. Sixty Five. Sixty Six. Sixty Seven. Sixty Eight. Sixty Nine.


1. Green River - "10,000 Things"
First off is a Green River song. Called 10,000 Things. That's more things than I just counted in that last paragraph! Marky Army sings about having "10,000 things chasing him"... now just imagine that when he said "things" he was talking about "pennises". HAHEHEHEHEHEHO. It's a pretty nice angsty hard rock tune. Great heavy riffs, nice guitar-playing, the tempo has just enough energy to it. Mark's voice sounds like Iggy Pop. The guitar solos are absolutely beautiful. This whole song just rocks, man! I just really love that middle section with the guitar solo. OOOWWWUUUAIIAIIAIIIAIIIII!!!! Apparently he's even got "things crawling out his arm"... isn't that hilarious??!! A lovely song for yer heart n' soul.

2. Melvins - "Scared"
The... MELVINS!! YAY!! This wasn't actually the first recorded appearance of the Melvins like a lot of people believe because they had some songs on two K Records compilation tapes a year prior. This song is a little slower but definitely not "Melvins slow". The riff is hacks away at the melodic void like a crazy fuzzed-out chainsaw and the intro riff is awesome, with some corny chime sounds and some "whoo whoop whoop"s thrown in for good measure. I absolutely love it. It reminds me a little bit of the riff for "I Saw Your Mommy" by Suicidal Tendencies but better! After this part, Matt Lukin starts playing a very speedy bass riff but the song anti-climaxes back into a mid-tempo funk with a more down-beat guitar riff, and King Buzzo supplies some of the most cartoonishly awesome vocals you'll hear, with his voice pitch going all over the charts, from Bugs Bunny to Cookie Monster. Hah! I really love that. I also like the one part where the whole band shouts "DO IT!"... really fun song. At the end of the song, the band plays a similar section to the intro but in a few steps down and then they all shout "SCARED!!". And that's all there is. There isn't. Any more.

3. Melvins - "Blessing the Operation"
This one's really fast! One of the fastest hardcore songs you'll hear, and it's by the Melvins! The whole song is loaded with energy, from the drumming, the vocals, the bass, the guitar... all complete sonic fury! The lyrics seem to allude to the fundamentalist religious-leaning policies of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. But it's just an amazing song! There's a demo version of this on the Melvins album "26 Songs", also.

4. Malfunkshun - "With Yo' Heart (Not Yo' Hands)"
This is a slow song and when I listen to it again it kind of reminds me of Black Sabbath with a more glam rock edge. UH-ONE-TIME!!! Andrew Wood (frontman/vocalist of the band) has a voice that goes from a rough Seattle twang to a wispy falsetto. Pretty good drumming, allso. There's sort of a trippy thing of lead guitar floating around the very top of your head like little ghosts. Real angry-sounding fucked up guitar riff in the chorus.

5. Skin Yard - "Throb"
Starts out with a simple bass guitar riff and some psychedelic-sounding guitar fading in and out, before heading into full intensity, with loud yet pretty-sounding electric guitar, an angry bass riff, tortured vocals, and a slow beat. This one's real good-sounding. Excellent melodies all around... prepare to be in for something else when hearing Throb!

6. Soundgarden - "Heretic"
Out of all of these bands, Soundgarden definitely became the most famous. They got signed to a major label first in the late '80s, they had two really famous albums, and they were pretty talented as well -- they got so famous that Chris Cornell actually thought it was a good idea about 12 years after they broke up to record an album with a lame "rap" artist that most Soundgarden fans wouldn't care for at all! But besides all that... this early incarnation of Soundgarden feels more punk than the metal sound they'd be later famous for. Chris doesn't belt out his mouthsounds as much as he just screams like a dying cat. Like Rosie. This one cat I know. She's a little brown fat kitty and she's so cute but I can't pet her because I'm allergic to her. Doesn't that SUCK?? Anyways, Chris screams things about religious persecution and with references to religion and the occult. This song was re-recorded for the soundtrack to a movie called "Pump Up the Volume", but this original version is much better! Just listen to how that guitar sounds.

7. Soundgarden - "Tears to Forget"
This song is a lot faster than the song before it and once again features that amazing guitar tone that sounds like a mix between fire and ice if they knew how to play instruments. The chorus section after the intro has an ominous/exciting riff like something important is about to happen. The verse section's riff and lyrics elaborate on this tension, with a slightly different drumbeat. Once again, this song eventually was re-recorded, and it was featured on the band's first album, "Screaming Life". End of Side A.

8. Malfunkshun - "Stars-N-You"
The other Malfunkshun song. Much faster than their other song. It has sort of a euphoric riff and vocal melody, with crazy love-song lyrics and the like. It kind of crashes and takes off... the tempo is real unique-sounding. Return of the infamous "one time" lyric. Again. Heh. Also take a listen to those crazy solos!

9. Melvins - "Grinding Process"
One of the most notable Melvins songs and probably their first song where they tried to get real slow and heavy. It has an extremely grimy, tough energy to it... just slow enough to rub that knoize knuckle around in your face after punching it. The vocals are awesome, Buzz sounds snotty as ever! Just listen to how everybody yells "TASTE" all at once that first time! Then there's a guitar solo and an outro section with an ascending guitar riff with an extremely thick, dark sound to it. Different versions of this song have also been featured in their debut 7", the "10 Songs" album, the "Northwest Hardcore" compilation tape, and 26 Songs, which has every version of the song recorded except for this one.

10. Melvins - "She Waits"
I LOVE this one. Isn't it funny how the Melvins went from being an ultra-fast band to an ultra-slow band? Anyways, the song kicks off with a fast section with a really cool guitar riff, climaxing in a mega-intense thrash section with Dale Crover on vocals that's only four seconds long but actually the best part of the song. Then there's a slower part of the song. It all ends in some really loud feedback with the bandmates eventually complaining before it gets turned off.

11. Skin Yard - "The Birds"
Now we slow things back down... Ben McMillan, the singer of the band sings in a real depressing-sounding and subtle voice. If you liked how things sounded in their other song on this LP, then you'll probably like this one also. And there's some saxophone-playing on this song. The lyrics are very dark and describe feeling plagued by apathy and complacency, and he also complains about there being a lot of birds. Birds must really piss this guy off. That just SUCKS. Birds. They have wings. And feathers. And beaks. They like to eat worms. Isn't that funney?

12. Soundgarden - "All Your Lies"
This is the best version of this song. It was later on their album "Ultramega O.K." and it sounds more clean and metal-ish, and that version rocks also, but this version has that really hot guitar sound that makes the song WAY more exciting-sounding. It's kinda chaotic, but the chaos seems to have a direction. If it didn't, the song would go on forever, right? Perhaps. Anyways, this song is really awesome! The verse part is fast and the chorus part is kind of slow. Kim Thayil can play the guitar REALLY good.

13. Green River - "Your Own Best Friend"
Starts out slow with a mostly lead-guitar melody before taking off for a faster tempo. This song's about a person who feels alienated by the rest of society and feels like his friends and family don't even care about him and feels pressured to do the right thing and dress the right way all of the time. Kind of depressing. Towards the end of the song I suspect that Mark Arm was smoking quite a few joints 'cuz he sounds so stoned he can barely even sing without laughing. The rest of the band sings in chorus vocals along with Mark's lyrics in one part and I thought that sounded pretty cool. The rest of the music starts to fade out and soon you just hear Mark laughing along with a drum beat as weird Butthole Surfer-like vocal effects haunt the soundscape.

14. U-Men - "They"
HEY KIDZ! THIS IS THE LAST SONG! IT'S THE U-MEN: ROCKABILLY ON CRACK COCAINE! The U-Men were the oldest of the bands on this album and had already released a couple of records, so they were more well-known than the other bands here. Yeah, this song is a lot more silly and upbeat than most of the other tunes on here. The singer, John Bigley, has a crazy hillbilly-sounding voice that screams and moans at different times. The first part of the song is real crazy and upbeat, and then there's a calmer, more depressing part of the song where the singer kind of mopes about various mishaps... "Junior flipped the flappin' out on Route 21"... what poetic mastery! I love it! Then a bunch of animals disappear in a "puff of smoke on the road". Great type of song to drink beer and poorly fire bullets outta yer shotgun at trespassers to.

One great thing about this record is that there's so much variety! Every band has their own distinct sound -- even songs from the same band have their own unique sound. This would be the perfect compilation of early Seattle rock stuff if the Accused were also on here or something. But I guess the Accused weren't weird-sounding enough so they aren't anywhere to be found on this album. You'll hear a little bit of punk, metal, psychedelica, all mixed up in one big gigantic stew of (at the time) un-noticed talent. And really, only two of these bands on the compilation made it very far out of obscurity... the Melvins and Soundgarden, and the Melvins soon realized that being on a major label really is bogus! So, if you like any of these bands (I'm sure you like at least one), do check this out... all top-notch material that could have very easily never been put down on the wax slab. It would have been funny if the Mentors were on here also, but then A&M wouldn't want to touch this album the way they did in 1994 almost ten years later. This album just rocks!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Grinding Process (Melvins)
2. Blessing the Operation (Melvins)
3. 10,000 Things (Green River)


  1. a total fucken wonderful record. i still think the first demo of "Grinding Process" is the coolest one.

  2. Nice review. The Melvins tracks here are the best on this record in my opinion. And I agree about Nirvana being a heavier version of the Beatles. Kurt was a BIG Beatles fan as was Dave Grohl.