So my final exam for the current year of University is tomorrow (but seeing as I’ve written this week’s entry in advance, THE PAST), and instead of reading two of the books I’ve read NONE of this semester I’ve decided to do a load of Scott Burns album reviews. Here is Massacre’s From Beyond, unquestionably one of the more important BANDS on the scene, if responsible for an album of diminished importance and its followup EP. Massacre’s members were each at one stage members of Death and their demos, through the once-prevalent tape-trading scene, managed to influence a LOT of people. They actually spilt before releasing any professional recordings but were convinced to reform for the sake of getting this album out, and perhaps did so just to be able to prove how much other folks had ripped off from them. Barney Greenway, for example, has taken his ENTIRE vocal range from Kam Lee’s guttural grunts and ebullient “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY”s. Dani Filth, too, took cues from Lee’s screeching wails. Massacre’s general attitude to riffs proved influential too. It’s just a shame their debut, as in official debut, came out later than it ought to have.
The production on the album is suitable for the era, and comes from 1991 – THE year for Burns recordings and US death metal in general. In ‘91 the genre reached a natural peak, with a glut of great recordings jostling for position in what must have been heaven for new listeners back twenty years ago. Ah. To have not been four, and a citizen of the UK. The guitars have a lovely Burns buzz, though it occasionally might take you a couple extra seconds to make out the actual chords. The vocals are buried in the mix, but to continue the metaphor, have also burst free as would a rotting corpse and sit somewhat slightly more obscured by aural dirt than they should. The drums sound fine, and tinilly compliment the guitars. Overall, a solid production job. The album, produced by Colin Richardson with Burns engineering, is in terms of name value at least, is a fucking dream collaboration.
The first track “Dawn Of Eternity”, is a death metal classic. If death metal worked the same way Jazz does, EVERY band would play this song at some stage in their career. Cradle Of Filth covered it in 1999 to great effect, but the original boasts the most menace and sonic charisma of any version I’ve heard. Seeing as it’s simply perfect, I’d actually rather you listened to it than read what I have to say about it, because it’s essential death top to toe.
The second track, “Cryptic Realms”, is less death metal than aggressive sentiment-free metal with grunted vocals, and I’ve always been a lot less fond of it, but at one stage Kam delivers an incredible faded scream that sounds like a fucking EAGLE. It’s awesome. There’s a riff that’s easy to bounce to later in the song, though, which saves its spot on my iTunes list. Also, I guess I forgot Rick Rozz was on this album, but no, there’s that bloody whammy bar. In fact, I’d wager every track on the album features egregious use of the whammy bar. Let’s see. The song does that coolish/groan-inducing thing of slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…….in….g down, at the end.
The snare hit that announces the thrash of the next song seems cheeky in comparison. The track, ”Biohazard”, has nothing going for it, and even cheaps out on the same slow-down ending. Weak.
The next track, though, opens with the same keys effect as the crows/ painting puzzle room in the first Resident Evil game before going into some Terminator-score sound effects. It’s a welcome change of pace and much more like the first track than the thrash wankery of the previous two. It’s exciting, each and every time I hear it. The riff sounds like a fucking FACTORY, and the drums come in with a drawn out “ooooorrrrgggghhh”, but it’s the NEXT riff that’s the best on the album. Truly SCARY death metal riff, right there. Sadly, the following riff is much more standard, and it becomes apparent that owing to their status as one of the earliest death metal bands (explained above), there’s no way they could be ALL death metal. Their influential parts are what sounds coolest, but the parts where they tread the metal waters lightly is way less exciting, in general.
“From Beyond” has a cheesy keys section I really like in the middle, but you’ve to wade through shit to get there. Man, this album is wearing me out. I’m definitely in the wrong line of work here, gang!
“Defeat Remains” is one of the STUPIDEST sounding songs I’ve ever heard. I can imagine 1990s football jocks just jumping up and down to it on an empty pitch at night. It’s awful altogether. It has an even dumber riff later on that just sounds like it would be so easy to play you could only get bored in doing so. Whammy bar solo. Oh. Wow.
Bad wow. Cause of what I said earliPAYATTENTION!
“Succubus” is more of the same. Slappy drumming, whammy bar, barking, riff you’d never remember. God, this band is inspiration-free, despite their tendency to LITERALLY inspire loads of famous bands.
Skipping the next track entirely, we come to “Corpsegrinder”, which was originally a Death track (though shouldn’t they all be, technically?) Anyway, it starts off in the good old Death Metal tradition – copying Slayer with a load of guitar noise. It kinda sounds, in some ways, like the first death metal song ever recorded, due to its simplicity. It may have been. WE’LL NEVER KNOW.
Also, years later, Ed Repka’s original cover was recoloured for a second release. Lookit:
You know what those monsters need? Piercings. Anyway, which to your preference is have? Is send letter to Col. Giveafuck, care of Notwantopinionforreal Army Base, North South Texasville.
Seeing as this entry was a little light as I was so burned out, I’ll cover the EP Inhuman Condition as well. My defining memory of this disc was listening to it while hunting Golden Geckos in Fallout: New Vegas on PS3. The title track has a lot more personality. I can only presume that after reuniting to re-record classic material on their debut, the decision to release this EP was because they had NEW songs, because the attitude on here is certainly newer. The production is meatier, and sounds less contrived, if that makes any sense. It sounds livelier, less automated. The song has some cool sections. It’s still thrash-heavy but has more of a groove to it, and a really ugly bass-only section I really dig. There’s also a great breakdown in the middle which predates that as a trend by a year or two, as far as this genre is concerned at least.
STOP NOW. Turns out Burns didn’t even produce it. Therefore I actively refuse to listen to it. Dammit, HAVE 19th CENTURY BOOKS TO BE NOT READING!
What will next Saturday’s post hold? I know someone who knows, but he’s not saying. See you then, budzzz.