Massacre - Back from Beyond (2014)
Century Media Records
Review by Trevor Proctor
Massacre’s signing to Century Media and subsequent news of a new album created a massive buzz within the metal community; once pioneers of the Floridian death metal scene Massacre return in March 2014 with their first (highly anticipated) full length album in almost 18 years.Massacre was formed in 1984 by Rick Rozz, Terry Butler, Allen West and Bill Andrews with Kam Lee joining soon after. During 1987 Rozz, Butler and Andrews left Massacre to join Death but by 1991 they returned and released their debut album “From Beyond” on Earache records, one of the most (if not THE most) influential record labels at this time - after releasing the “Inhuman Condition” EP in 1992 the band split yet again.
Rick Rozz reunited the band in 1996, releasing the album “Promise” but it soon disbanded again and it would be as late as 2007 before any further resurrection of Massacre would occur when Kam Lee, Terry Butler and Steve Swanson along with Sam Williams and Curtis Beeson reformed temporarily. In 2011 Rick Rozz and Terry Butler re-united for the purpose of an anniversary tour of their classic album “From Beyond” a tour that fittingly started in Tampa, Florida. By the end of 2011 the band announced they had fully and officially reformed with founding members Rick Rozz and Terry Butler alongside new members Ed Webb on vocals and Mike Mazzonetto on drums.
The band played with their new line up on the 70,000 Tonnes of Metal cruise in January 2012 and by the end of the cruise they had met with Jens Prueter from Century Media and made a “handshake deal” for Massacre to sign with Century Media. Massacre released the 7” “Condemned to the Shadows” in July 2012 prior to their appearance at Germany’s Wacken festival and also stated we could expect an album release early in 2014.
With a release date of March 24th in Europe and April 1st in the US expectations around the new Massacre album are immense. Aside from a brief instrumental introduction we’re straight into Massacre’s trademark death metal, an album featuring a total of fourteen tracks. Any doubts regarding Ed Webb’s ability as a vocalist are blown out of the water with his very first vocal of the album – a scream lasting well beyond ten seconds that would rip the lungs out of most, his vocals during the album are both consistent and impressive, as is Mazzonetto’s drumming with both new members complimenting the old guard of Rozz and Butler very, very well.
The production throughout is clean without sounding artificial, Rick Rozz still tracks guitar in exactly the same way he did years ago, and thankfully he plays as well as he ever did – solos scattered across the album are testimony to this fact. Back from Beyond is 46 minutes of upfront, no pretention no bull shit death metal; when interviewed recently by The Lair of Filth Rick Rozz stated we could expect “Brutal vocals, crushing drums, thunderous bass, and hooky, heavy riffs throughout the whole album” and I have to agree with him, the album ticks every one of these boxes and more. For any band to release a fourteen track album with no filler whatsoever is a very significant feat; from start to finish this is death metal of the highest standard. Proof of this lies in the track “Honor the Fallen” the final track of the album yet one of my favourite tracks – to lay a song as strong as this at the end of your album illustrates the ability of a band like Massacre.
No doubt there’ll be quite a few naysayers gathered, waiting to bombard Massacre with cries of “no originality” and so on but let’s first respectfully remember who these guys are – they were forerunners in Death Metal’s glory days of the early 1990’s who released one of the best Death Metal albums of all time – so get the fuck off your soapbox and revel in the fact that Massacre have again released a solid, substantial and significant Death Metal album that is good enough to go toe to toe with any current death metal release, no easy task when it’s your first full length in eighteen years and also considering the productivity of the sub-genre at present. It’s Massacre and it sounds like Massacre, fore-fathers of the sub-genre who helped form and shape Death Metal in the first place, so job well and truly done in my opinion - now it’s time to clamber back down from my own soap box…
This isn’t merely a new chapter in the saga of Massacre, it’s a whole new volume and luckily for us the Massacre story is far from over – a triumphant return to form from one of death metal’s most significant bands.
1. The Ancient Ones
2. As We Wait to Die
3. Ascension of the Deceased
4. Hunter’s Blood
5. Darkness Fell
6. False Revelation
7. Succumb to Rapture
8. Remnants of Hatred
9. Shield of the Son
10. The Evil Within
11. Sands of Time
12. Beast with Vengeance
13. Back from Beyond
14. Honor the Fallen
Back from Beyond is available now in Europe and is released on April 1st in the US, through Century Media.