Massacre – Back From Beyond (Century Media Records)Wednesday, 2nd April 2014
Massacre is a controversial band, and deservedly so. Let’s not talk about what happened after From Beyond. Let’s just jump a couple of decades ahead if we have to. Kam Lee, the original vocalist credited for those trademark growls is absent. His legacy spreads far and wide and the band has found a fitting vocalist, some ex-Eulogy (competent band) and more importantly ex-Diabolic frontman in Edwin Webb. He delivers. End of story.
Focusing on the music, cheesily titled Back From Beyond is just what you’d expect. It’s From Beyond part 2. Come to think of it, From Beyond is the essential meat and potatoes death metal album. Nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t have that distinct flavour that Death did on Scream Bloody Gore or Morbid Angel. for that matter. Many bands from that period had a trademark style that wasn’t easy to emulate – Massacre on the other hand, just delivered highly competent and somewhat memorable death metal, as straightforward and solid as it could get, nothing more. It had that Floridian thrash flavour which has been subdued on the new album. It sounds like any other meat and potatoes release, the best at that though. What’s remarkable is the similarity to the Rogga Johansson bands, but minus the blatant Swedish influences. If you remove that, you’ll be reminded of Massacre. It’s strange that you have to compare the latest album of a classic band with that of its contemporaries – it’s unfair but it’s the band’s fault for being absent for so long and not really updating the sound the way say Immolation has done over the years.
The riffing is intact, which is excellent and what makes this band. It’s most reminiscent of the Obituary albums for the lack of a better band comparison, even though Massacre predated it. It only goes to prove that Massacre’s death metal wasn’t strikingly different from the others but it was as solid as a world war tank, immune to bomb blasts. Look at the genre of death metal – it’s got to have that meat, that heaviness, those riffs with classic structuring and all of that Massacre delivers in spades. You can’t expect more, really. Be happy because this is a fine comeback album…nothing more.