Chris Barnes (born December 29, 1967) is a US musician, known as one of the founding members of death metal band Cannibal Corpse, for his subsequent work as part of Six Feet Under and as the former vocalist of death metal band Torture Killer.
Barnes is concidered to be one of the founders of the death metal, as well as the greatest death metal vocal ever, founding cookie monster vocals.
Chris was originally in Tirant Sin with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, guitarist Bob Rusay, Joe Morelli and Rich Ziegler back in 1986, and was also in Leviathan, a band that recorded a four track demo entitled "Legions of the Undead" in 1987.
1988-1995: Cannibal Corpse
Barnes wrote all of the lyrics on the albums "Eaten Back to Life", "Butchered at Birth", "Tomb of the Mutilated" and "The Bleeding".
When asked in an interview what his favourite Cannibal Corpse album that he worked on was, he commented "I love them all, I really do. I really enjoyed them all," In the same interview when he was asked about his time with the band, he responded "I look back on it with a lot of fond memories. It was pretty much my starting point - it wasn't exactly my starting point, but it was as a professional musician. I think that I really helped bring about a certain style of music, and with that band I really outlined what most people think Death Metal vocals sound like - I'm part of that. I'm really proud of the imagery, and the lyrical stories that I put together on all those albums. We set out to conquer the world though, and I think we did as far as our corner of the world was concerned."
Barnes left Cannibal Corpse because of personal differences with the rest of the band members. Barnes was then able to devote his full attention to the band Six Feet Under (aka SFU), which had been his side project since 1992. Barnes has commented that he is "very proud of what I've done with them."
1995-present: Six Feet Under
In 2005, SFU released 13, their 6th full length album, an album that Chris also produced.
In the same year SFU released A Decade in the Grave, a boxset highlighting the past 10 years of Six Feet Under.
With the success of two death metal bands already under his belt (Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under), Chris Barnes joined the Finnish death metal band Torture Killer in the fall of 2005. Barnes says he is fully committed to the band, and has appeared on the band's new album "Swarm!", which was released February 24, 2006. He left the band in January 2008.
SFU released their newest album "Commandment" in April, 17th, 2007 to highly positive views. Chris Barnes has stated "Commandment" is his favourite album, claiming to have received over 5,000 messages in support, many fans cite it as their favourite SFU release since 2003's Bringer of Blood.
SUPPORT FOR MARIJUANA LAW REFORM
Since departing from Cannibal Corpse after "The Bleeding", Chris Barnes slightly shifted his lyrical focus towards more sociopolitical issues, the most prominent of which being the legalization of marijuana. The album "Warpath" contains two songs pertaining to marijuana, the first being "4:20" which praises the effects of the plant and the second being "Caged and Disgraced" that calls into question detaining individuals for marijuana possession. Also included in the albums liner notes is the website for NORML (National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Laws) and it is pointed out that the song "4:20" (which is 4 minutes and 20 seconds in length) was recorded on April 20th at 4:20pm, the national day and traditional time for smoking marijuana.
"Maximum Violence" contains the song "Victim of the Paranoid" which is another examination of marijuana laws, asserting marijuana users are victims of a system that is too worried about marijuana users and neglects other more pressing issues. Chris Barnes, much like Pantera's Phil Anselmo, has been known to smoke marijuana passed to him during a live performance and vocally praise the herb both on stage and in interviews.
Barnes is known for his rather extreme vocal style, which consists of low and snarled death grunts that have been described by as "thunderous" and "like Satan on a diet of razor blades and paint thinner." (Source: Allmusic.com) He has also been praised for the fact that his famous grunts have never been manipulated or enhanced by a recording studio. Some have speculated that Barnes can get such low vocals because he is a known marijuana smoker, although this has never been confirmed or denied by Barnes. He also seems to skilled at raspy screams, exemplified in the songs "I Cum Blood", "Stripped, Raped and Strangled," and "Pulverised." Ironically, in interviews he is known for having a very soft voice and for being very mellow.
Chris's vocals on "Tomb of The Mutilated" were so inhumanly guttural, that inside the booklet of the album there is a message that states "Electronic Harmonizer was not used to create any vocals on Tomb of The Mutilated". (Source: http://www.tombofthemutilated.net/Chris-Barnes-Cannibal-Corpse-Biography.html)
The singers Barnes idolised when he was growing up were Brian Johnson (AC/DC), Gene Simmons (KISS), David Lee Roth (Van Halen), Jim Morrison (The Doors), Ian Gillan (Black Sabbath & Deep Purple), Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and Paul Di'Anno (Iron Maiden). He likes their powerful voices, and almost their typical figures.
In an interview, he said the following about his early singing aspirations: I was really enamoured with Gene Simmons from Kiss and the whole visual idea of a demon being a singer in a band, which kind of stuck with me in a way. When I saw Kiss in 1979, 1980 for the first time as an eleven or twelve year old kid, I was really enthralled. I felt "Wow! This is a live performance", and I really loved Simmons and what he was doing. At another level I kept listening to music and it got more and more heavy, and then at one point as a teenager I said "Well I love this music so much, so I think maybe I could do that also". At that point, I started singing along to my favourite albums by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Venom and so on. I'd sing along to the tape, and I'd try to sing like those guys would in those bands. It just progressed from there really. When I was in my first year at college in the university, I was in a band at that point writing original music. It was the most fun in my life, and being in school I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I wasn't really sure of my place. I just thought to myself one day when I was in school, I said "I don't want to be here". As a result, I got up, walked out, got in my car, and then cranked it up. I drove up to rehearsal and said "This is what I want to do".
* There are rumors of Chris Barnes playing in the UK’s resident deathgrind act Extreme Noise Terror which are thought to be false.
* There is also friction between Barnes and vocalist of Anal Cunt, Seth Putnam. According to Putnam's website, Seth heckled Barnes during the SFU set, leading to an altercation between the two, with Barnes' roadies/friends attacking Putnam. Putnam released the song, "Chris Barnes is a Pussy" as retaliation to the incident.
* Is a big fan of metal pioneers Black Sabbath, which is why Cannibal Corpse did a cover of "Zero the Hero" (One of Barnes' favorite Black Sabbath songs) in the Hammer Smashed Face EP. He is also a fan of their Born Again album cover.
* When asked about George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, his vocal replacement for Cannibal Corpse, he said "“I know George is a good singer, though he wouldn't have been my choice personally. I kind of like it though because he was never able to sing my songs better than me; that's always made me feel proud, that I was able to write songs that couldn't be imitated. I think he does a proud job though, and he's a real nice guy.”
* On Six Feet Under's official website, he stated that his least favorite music is the Cannibal Corpse music that was recorded after he left the band.
* Is good friends with Chris Carroll, who worked on vocal tracks for the album Commandment and worked with Cannibal Corpse.
* Barnes designed the original Cannibal Corpse logo as well as the Six Feet Under logo and also did the artwork for "Warpath" released in 1997.
* Barnes says that thinking about death with his song lyrics has made him very sensitive to the fragility of human existence and life.
* In an interview he stated that he believes in reincarnation and has also said "I think there are many hints in life, such as familiarity with certain things, that are unexplainable. These are possibly explainable by the idea of having lived before, which is what I think. My dreams seem very real, and I tap into those places.". He also stated that he believes everything is a learning experience. "We're here for a reason, and we're gifted by life for sure.."
* Has a younger brother called Jason. This is mentioned in the extra materials with commentaries in the "Live with full force" DVD.
* Is good friends with Ice-T. (Source: IMDB)
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