I went to this show partly because the one Six Feet Under song I'd heard before sounded great for headbanging, and partly because I wanted to see what Cattle Decapitation was like after all the hype about their recent gory video. And the show was only twenty minutes away, so why not.
I'd never been to Cafe 611, although I'd heard of one or two shows there. It's located on Market Street in downtown Frederick, which seemed like an odd place for a metal show. There was a good sized crowd there, though, and a noticeably different crowd than at Baltimore or DC area shows. The floor was about the same size as at Empire (formerly Jaxx), but without the side areas. There was a small and crowded bar area behind, and a sit-down area that we didn't really explore. On the right of the floor was the office-desk-sized sound booth and on the left was another bar area that was being used to hold the bands' gear. Merch was in another back room, one of the few times I've seen merch somewhere well-lit where you don't have to shout to be heard. The stage itself was tiny, just barely big enough to hold a band and their stuff, and hardly raised or separated from the floor - just like at Krug's Place, it's a wonder no one crashed into the band when things got wild.
Wretched was on when we got there. There were three or four opening acts, but I couldn't escape the house till my daughter had gone to bed, so we missed them. Wretched sounded very muddy and raw - but I suppose that's how underground death metal is supposed to sound. They also had a bit of a black metal sound. I managed to pick out a few headbangable guitar parts and some basslines that moved along with a nice rolling rhythm, but overall found them not that impressive. The singer's pants kept slipping down, and at one point he stepped down from the tiny stage onto the floor, but spent most of that time turned around facing the stage, which I thought was a little odd.
The next act was Cattle Decapitation, who, as I said before, I was curious to see after hearing about their gory new video. I'd heard the band name before, maybe even heard a song or two, but this was the first time I really paid attention to them, because I realized they weren't just using shocking imagery just for shock value, but because they were using their extreme music and visuals to promote (somewhat) extreme progressive views. I hoped I would like them, but that was not to be. There were snippets of strong riffs or bass rhythms in their music and some cool grind and black-metal-like segments, but mostly it just sounded like noise, too much stuff going on at once that wasn't connected. The singer had a very active stage presence, though, so they were decently interesting to see live, but I probably wouldn't want to listen to a recording. There was a lot of drama from the singer about his mic volume - up, down, up.. and a mic that apparently smelled bad.
Luckily, the night wasn't a complete waste of time because Six Feet Under was amazing. Most of my previous knowledge of them consisted of one song, which with its very rhythmic riffs sounded great for headbanging. I hoped this song wasn't an anomaly, and I wasn't disappointed - all their songs (except one suspected to be a Cannibal Corpse cover) had that same slowish and very rhythmic sound. Most songs had some variety in them, though - slower instrumental bridges between intense verses or choruses, some screamed vocals thrown in - with just a few less interesting songs that seemed to have the same riffs and rhythms all the way through. The best song was early in the set, one that sounded like a cover of an old school metal band, maybe Motorhead. I think they also played at least one Cannibal Corpse cover (honestly, not very familiar with the discography of either band), which sounded a lot more chaotic than their usual sound.
It was totally worth it just to get to headbang to Six Feet Under for an hour, and also to see that the people in Cattle Decapitation really are just ordinary dudes (the singer looks like someone's dad).
Next show: Lamb of God, In Flames, Hatebreed, Sylosis, Nov. 17