Undeath singer Alexander Jones was one of the participants in a recent “Death Metal Round Table” interview, which drew criticism from Six Feet Under frontman Chris Barnes, formerly of Cannibal Corpse. Curious to see how the newcomer handled the response from the legendary Barnes, we reached out to Jones via email for his thoughts on the ordeal.
The roundtable, hosted by Knotfest, also featured Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad, and Gatecreeper’s Chase Mason. The range of topics covered included how each singer first got into death metal, their influences, their accessibility to extreme music and more.
Barnes said it made him “physically sick” and that he despised what the death metal genre has become.
Formed in 2018 in Rochester, New York, Undeath cut a pair of demos and released a split before signing a deal with Prosthetic Records for their 2020 debut. Lesions of a different kind, which featured a guest appearance by Strnad on the title track. The release gained notoriety in the underground with Undeath striking an ideal balance between chunky death metal and lively melody in all the right places.
Here Jones describes the first time he saw Barnes’ review of the roundtable interview, discusses the entry points of extreme metal, reveals what he misses most about the old days of death metal (it has to do with shoes) and screams a new age killer of death metal bands.
Read the full interview below and follow Undeath on Facebook, instagram, Twitter and Spotify. Look for the band’s new album, It’s time… to rise from the graveout April 22 via Prosthetic Records and pre-order your copy here.
Where did you first see Chris Barnes respond to the Death Metal Round Table? What was your first reaction? It had to sting a little, right?
I opened Twitter and saw that people were mad at Chris Barnes again, which didn’t surprise me much, but then I saw that it was about the roundtable that I was part of it and I had a good laugh. It didn’t sting – I would have been much more surprised if he had enjoyed it to be perfectly honest.
Chris Barnes said the roundtable made him “physically sick”. In theory, that’s what good death metal should do to anyone, right? (even if you were just talking)
Death Metal round table — Interview
Have you ever met Chris Barnes in person?
I do not have.
One of the topics discussed was the accessibility of death metal as far as sound goes (not how easily you can find it on the internet). More than 30 years ago, this genre was not considered accessible, quite the contrary. A lot of death metal was more song-oriented then than extreme metal has been for the past 15 years.
Is today’s death metal as effective at serving as a bridge or entry point as the ‘classic’ stuff?
I’m not entirely sure, but I think it depends on the person.
Personally, I was exposed to modern bands and more classic stuff around the same time, so I developed a pretty healthy appreciation for both. [styles] early. The mentality that a genre like death metal “died” (pun intended) 20 years ago is the same bullshit line or thought old hardcore people use when they say hardcore died in 84 or something like that. There are tons of exciting bands making death metal more viable than ever. If you can’t see that, you’re choosing not to look.
Undeath’s New Album Seems Heavily Influenced By Cannibal Corpse The bleeding specifically.
I would say that at this point in the band’s career, the songwriting was more accessible than the previous three albums, with the possible exception of “Hammer Smashed Face”, which is the only real “hit” song. universal death metal. Would you accept?
We like The bleeding so I’m sure the influence is there subconsciously, but Kyle and I have always been more drawn to the Corpsegrinder [era of] Cannibal material. To kill, Gutting plague, Vileetc – it’s not our wheelhouse anymore.
We were also listening to a ton of Judas Priest around the writing of this record so that’s probably in there too.
Undeath, “Rise From the Grave” Music Video
Is there something in the classical scene that has disappeared that you wish was present today? Please don’t talk about album sales!
Chunky high top Reeboks (and album sales).
Death metal’s reputation was once one of violence, Satanism, and anti-Christianity and portrayed its participants as social miscreants who posed a threat to polite society and impressionable youth.
Would death metal be healthier today if everyone thought you were all ax murderers? Or is it important that this stigma is gone?
I think the ‘kayfabe’ aspect of metal is important to a lot of bands (and a lot of fans too), but for us it’s never really been our prerogative to present ourselves as something we’re not.
Listen, if you want to REALLY try to convince everyone who listens to your music that you’re a deranged serial killer with a crawl space full of bodies, more power to you my friend. And if your fans like your music more, if they can be convinced that you’re an extremely screwed up human being, hey, more power for them too.
But Undeath is a band full of greasy, perpetually stoned players just trying to have a good time and play the kind of fun, riffy death metal we love to hear. Sorry to break the spell, but we’re not going to kill you. But we would love to have a beer with you!
Don’t get me wrong though – I like a lot of bands that create a mystique or narrative around them and work hard to preserve it. I think that may be commendable. It was never our thing. We’re just trying to riff and party.
Who is your favorite death metal singer of all time? Why?
Body grinder. He’s the best there’s ever been, without a doubt. Listen to a song like “Sentenced to Burn” or “Devored by Vermin” and tell me straight out there’s a better leader.
Chris Barnes won’t be interested in bands and won’t talk about who he likes. Let’s hear it – what are your favorite new age death metal bands?
Very difficult to reduce…
Phobophile (listening here)
Vomit Forth (listen here)
Sanguisugabogg (listen here)
Tomb Mold (listen here)
Evil altar (listen here)
Fetid (listen here)
Mortal wound (listen here)
mutilated (listen here)
Undergang (listen here)
Hyperdontia (listen here)
Best Death Metal Album of Each Year Since 1985
Here are our picks for the best Death Metal album of each year since 1985