'Back From Beyond'
Release date (Europe): Monday 24th March 2014
Limited Edition Digipak CD/CD/LP/Digital Download
Massacre qualify as death Metal veterans, being formed in the mid-eighties, before putting their own band on hold while they teamed up with the late, great Chuck Schuldinger, forming Death.
In 91, Massacre released their debut album 'From Beyond' following that up with an EP in 92, 'Inhuman Condition'. Touring followed in Europe, before the band disappeared into the 'musical differences' void, despite a 96 release (of which the less said the better).
Fast forward twenty years, and Terry Butler (bass) and Rick Rozz (guitars) reform the band. Butler has not been idle - being a member of 6 Feet Under and Obituary. Recruiting vocalist Ed Webb and drummer Mickey Manzonetto and under the wing of former Death manager Ed Greiff they played on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Caribbean cruise in 2012. This was followed by writing new material, and signing to Century Media, recording 'Back From Beyond' in Autumn 2013.
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So, what you get is 45 minutes of what the band describe as "straightforward Florida death Metal". I dislike the term "old school" but the sound does indeed hark back to their debut album. Anyone (like me) old enough to have bought it way back when will certainly recognise the sound here.
Fourteen songs in all, (sixteen if you grab the limited edition digipack CD with two bonus Death covers - 'Corpsegrinder' and 'Mutilation') and most come in around three minutes.
After the intro 'The Ancient Ones' finishes, you get straight into unrelenting death Metal frenzy. 'As We Wait To Die' opens with a grinding riff with Webb screaming his way into the song before his growled vocals kick in.
'Ascension Of The Deceased' follows; it's fast riffs slow down half way through becoming more chugging, before speeding up through a cracking solo and the final verse. This is a characteristic of this album, in good death Metal style, riffs and tempo change through each song, which hook the listener in to each track.
Apart from the solos, there is little in the way of instrumental passages between verses (or indeed introductions) - indeed, in some cases the solo's do appear as an afterthought - as though they have been put in because of convention - the album would still work without them.
That said, Rozz's solos are straight out of the Hanneman drawer, short and skilfully played, high pitched wails that echo the lyrical terror being sung about.
The production on this album is superb. Characterized by a big wall of sound that assaults you, with every aspect perfectly balanced, rather than each instrument fighting each other to be heard. This is as it should be with musicians as experienced as these guys.
'Back From Beyond' should appeal to those who grew up listening to bands like Death etc as well as reaching a new audience.
In short, I hope that the response to this album will make Massacre stick around and continue to perform and record together, twenty years is far too long to wait for another offering.
Ed Webb –Vocals
Rick Rozz – Guitars
Terry Butler – Bass
Mikey Mazzonetto – Drums
01. The Ancient Ones (01:04)
02. As We Wait To Die (03:30)
03. Ascension Of The Deceased (03:19)
04. Hunter's Blood (03:21)
05. Darkness Fell (02:59)
06. False Revelation (03:55)
07. Succumb To Rapture (03:33)
08. Remnants Of Hatred (02:29)
09. Shield Of The Son (03:51)
10. The Evil Within (03:34)
11. Sands Of Time (02:42)
12. Beast With Vengeance (03:16)
13. Back From Beyond (04:39)
14. Honor The Fallen (03:16)
Notice: The limited edition Digipak CD version of 'Back From Beyond' comes with alternate artwork, a sticker and two Death cover songs ('Corpsegrinder' and 'Mutilation') as bonus tracks.