MACABRE (IL)

Death Metal / Death 'n' Roll • United States
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Macabre are a pioneering death metal band from the USA. They were formed in 1985 in Chicago, Illinois, and ever since have never had a line-up change. They blend thrash metal, death metal and grindcore to form their own unique style dubbed Murder Metal. Oddly enough, although being one of the first bands ever to play death metal, their influence is not as far reaching as one would think. This is probably due to their lyrical content and humorous attitude towards songwriting. Lyrically, they have a strong focus on serial killers, mass murderers and a touch of sick gore humour. Most lyrics are based upon true stories and are about real infamous personalities. They also have a side project called the Macabre Minstrels that play acoustic songs. Their current label, and their own label, is Decomposed Records.

Macabre's music was strongly influenced by US & UK hardcore, grindcore & death
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MACABRE (IL) Discography

MACABRE (IL) albums / top albums

MACABRE (IL) Gloom album cover 3.17 | 3 ratings
Gloom
Death Metal 1989
MACABRE (IL) Sinister Slaughter album cover 3.90 | 5 ratings
Sinister Slaughter
Death Metal 1993
MACABRE (IL) Dahmer album cover 4.96 | 3 ratings
Dahmer
Death Metal 2000
MACABRE (IL) Murder Metal album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Murder Metal
Death Metal 2003
MACABRE (IL) Grim Scary Tales album cover 3.86 | 3 ratings
Grim Scary Tales
Death 'n' Roll 2011

MACABRE (IL) EPs & splits

MACABRE (IL) Grim Reality album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Grim Reality
Death Metal 1987
MACABRE (IL) Shitlist album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shitlist
Death Metal 1988
MACABRE (IL) Behind the Wall of Sleep album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Death Metal 1994
MACABRE (IL) Unabomber album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Unabomber
Death Metal 1999
MACABRE (IL) Macabre / Capitalist Casualties album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Macabre / Capitalist Casualties
Death Metal 2001
MACABRE (IL) Morbid Campfire Songs album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Morbid Campfire Songs
Death Metal 2002
MACABRE (IL) Human Monsters album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Human Monsters
Death Metal 2010

MACABRE (IL) live albums

MACABRE (IL) demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MACABRE (IL) Shit List album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shit List
Death Metal 1987

MACABRE (IL) re-issues & compilations

MACABRE (IL) Macabre Electric & Acoustic Two CD Set album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Macabre Electric & Acoustic Two CD Set
Death Metal 2004

MACABRE (IL) singles (0)

MACABRE (IL) movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
True Tales of Slaughter and Slaying
Death Metal 2006

MACABRE (IL) Reviews

MACABRE (IL) Grim Scary Tales

Album · 2011 · Death 'n' Roll
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UMUR
"Grim Scary Tales" is the 5th full-length studio album by US extreme metal act Macabre. The album was released through Decomposed Records in January 2011. It´s been 8 long years since the release of "Murder Metal (2003)", but Macabre are not exactly known for being the most productive band on earth in terms of churning out major releases. The band have released a couple of minor releases between 2003 and 2011 though.

Stylistically the material on "Grim Scary Tales" is instantly recognisable as the sound of Macabre. Macabre are probably one of the most unique sounding metal acts on the scene despite what can only be characterized as a very eclectic extreme metal style. On this release they combine elements from death metal, goregrind, black metal, thrash metal, country/bluegrass, swing, children songs and other oddities for your entertainment. The lyrical content is as usual about serial killers/mass murderes delivered with a humourous/bizarre touch. This time around several older legendary killers like "Countess Bathory" (a nice cover of the Venom classic), "Bella the Butcher" (Belle Sorenson Gunness), "Lizzy Borden", and Roman Emperor Nero on "Nero's Inferno", have been included. Most of the murderes described in the lyrics on "Grim Scary Tales" are actually pre-1900 killers, which is a slightly different lyrical approach, as Macabre in the past have predominantly written about post-1900 killers.

Despite the aggression and brutality of the album, the overall atmosphere of the release can sometimes turn towards the somewhat silly (which isn´t unusual for Macabre), but there´s nothing silly about the excellent musicianship, or the band´s compositional skills. The Macabre trio are very well playing and they know how to write a catchy and powerful extreme metal track, and how to effectively incorporate elements from alien music styles to their core sound. Regarding the high level musicianship, it´s especially the drumming by Denis The Menace which stands out. Both the sound of the drums (this is an example of when triggered bass drums work perfectly) and the playing by Denis The Menace are greatly enjoyable throughout the album. The vocals by lead vocalist/guitarist Corporate Death (backed up by bassist Nefarious) are also one of the defining features of Macabre´s music and on this album he sings more varied than ever. You´ll hear his trademark high pitched hysterical vocals on the album but also several types of clean and raw vocals, and some death metal growling too.

As always it´s a bit hard to pick favorites, because Macabre´s releases are usually of a very consistent quality, and the same applies to "Grim Scary Tales", but if I have to pick a few standout tracks it would probably be opening track "Locusta", "Nero's Inferno", and most definitely the country/bluegrass track "The Bloody Benders". "Grim Scary Tales" is well produced, featuring a slightly more raw and organic production than its two direct predecessors, but it´s still a professional, clear, and detailed sounding production.

Upon conclusion "Grim Scary Tales" is not an album which adds much new to the Macabre discography, although the band do conduct a few new sonic experiements, and it´s probably not an album you´d pick over classic albums like "Sinister Slaughter (1993)" and "Dahmer (2000)", but with that said Macabre´s music is still relevant on this release and in its own right "Grim Scary Tales" is a solid and quite enjoyable album and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.

MACABRE (IL) Dahmer

Album · 2000 · Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
Concept albums often have very dark stories and themes behind them. Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” deals with heroin addiction, assassination and insanity. W.A.S.P.’s “The Crimson Idol” is the story of a rock star dealing with the loss of his brother, his own alcoholism, the emotional distance from his parents, and his eventual suicide. “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” is possibly a concept album, or possibly not, depending on which member of Iron Maiden you ask, but it does cover clairvoyance, foreseeing death, madness and the meaning of dreams. All these pale in comparison to Macabre’s “Dahmer”.

“Dahmer” is particularly shocking and achingly dark because it is a true story. This album follows the tragic true story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer from screwed up childhood to eventual rather messy death. Dahmer’s life and crimes are particularly famous because the brutality and perversion behind the seventeen murders he committed caused a media shitstorm like no other serial killer in history.

This album kicks off with “Dog Guts”. Why? Because a young Jeffrey Dahmer loved playing with dead animals. Second track “Hitchhiker” covers Dahmer’s fucked up teenage years, culminating in the murder of a hitchhiker in 1978, his first victim. Macabre is well known for sticking the odd nursery rhyme into their music, and there’s a few on show here. “In The Army Now” and “Grandmother’s House” steal the tunes from “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Over the River and Through the Woods”, lightening the grim mood somewhat. “Coming To Chicago” borrows from “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain”, which is a truly disturbing sing-along about cruising gay bathhouses, looking for victims to fuck, photograph, kill, photograph, fuck, mutilate, fuck, disembowel and finally fuck again. Another borrowed tune, “Jeffrey Dahmer And The Chocolate Factory” has the immortal lines “Oompa loompa doompity dah/Jeffrey loved eating/Men from gay bars/And he lived in happiness too/Like the Oompa Loompa doompity doo”. Oompa Loompas don’t seem quite so innocent after that.

Dahmer tried to lobotomise several of his victims, in order to acquire a zombie sex slave, but kept messing up the operation. The song “Konerak” describes how victim Konerak Sinthasomphone managed to escape during this process, but through some of the most inept police work of all time, the cops returned him to Dahmer, and in doing so, missed seeing a decomposing body in Dahmer’s apartment, and all that was ever found of the the Thai teenager was a few bones.

As you can imagine, there’s nothing progressive or operatic about “Dahmer”, as is often common with concept albums. It’s a death metal record, but like Macabre’s previous two albums, it’s not exactly an ordinary death metal record. Macabre’s style of death metal has always had something of a cult following, rather than really breaking through into death metal’s mainstream, possibly because these guys enjoy a laugh. “Jeffrey Dahmer Blues” for example, is a swinging blues song, topped off with a solo by producer Neil Kernon. “McDahmers” is an anthem for cannibals everywhere. “Into The Toilet With You” hits a tech-death rhythm, while describing how acid dissolved flesh was flushed down the toilet.

Of course, there would have been no Dahmer, no court case, and no album unless Jeffrey was caught. “Media Circus” covers Dahmer’s arrest, using the cheerful circus music melody. “Temple of Bones” describes the macabre (no pun intended, no other word really fits) construction of skeletal remnants police found in Dahmer’s reeking charnel house apartment, along with dissolving body parts, filleted human flesh in the freezer, and putrefying bodily remains.

The song which sets this album apart from all other concept albums, and all gore themed metal everywhere, is “Trial”. Guitarist/vocalist Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) is quite serious in his obsession with serial killers, and actually attended Dahmer’s trial. “I waited in line to see him/Through the bulletproof wall/In the courtroom/And I had a seat in the front row/To watch Jeff like a circus sideshow/Ten feet away, the cannibal displayed”. This is taking research to another level, and short of interviewing Dahmer, or becoming a victim, this is as close to the source material as it is possible to get. Reading the lyrics, describing how Lencioni was only 10 feet from Dahmer is chilling.

Dahmer was beaten to death in prison in 1994, almost bringing this entire tragic episode to an end. Final song “The Brain” covers how Dahmer’s father wanted his son’s preserved brain destroyed, which it eventually was.

This whole story is told in a coherent manner, never losing its narrative thread, yet most of the songs can be listened to in isolation without sounding strange. Well, no stranger than usual, considering this IS Macabre after all. It’s gory and gruesome, both musically and lyrically, and it stands up well to repeated listens. As far as death metal concept albums go, “Dahmer” is unique, the perfect mix of brutality, humour and true life horror.

MACABRE (IL) Grim Reality

EP · 1987 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Grim Reality" is an EP release by US grindcore/ death metal act Macabre. The 6 track, 12:28 minutes long EP was released in 1987 by Decomposed Records. "Grim Reality" has seen several re-issues and re-releases but the version I´m reviewing is the 2009 Decomposed Records re-release which features the 6 tracks in the original mix plus a Neil Kernon remastered/remixed version of the 6 tracks. The new versions are placed first on the disc while the 6 original versions are placed last. The instrumental track "Mass Murderer", which was originally only 1:25 minutes long, is in the new version about 4 minutes long but the remaining tracks don´t feature additional material.

It´s interesting to note that Macabre already this early in their career had a well defined and original sound. The music on "Grim Reality" sounds unmistakably like Macabre. The high pitched screaming and at times almost hysterical vocals spiced up with the occasional growl, the serial killer lyrics (infamous murderers like Albert Fish, Son of Sam and Ed Gein are handled in the trademark bizarre and at times comical lyric style, which is on full display in a song title like "Mr. Albert Fish (Was Children Your Favorite Dish?)"), the furiously fast played double bass drums and the short, memorable and powerful grindcore/ death metal tracks. Macabre have a sound that was amd still is completely their own.

Besides the longer playing time on "Mass Murderer", the major difference between the original mix and the remastered/remixed version of the tracks, is the drum sound. The original bass drum sound had a thud sound to it, while the drum sound on the remastered/remixed version of the tracks has the "classic" Neil Kernon produced Macabre sound. It sounds so different that I was actually in doubt if the drums had been re-recorded. I usually don´t appreciate re-mixes that messes too much with the original mix, but in this case I think the new mix sounds superior to the original mix and therefore I welcome the new sound.

For a 1987 release "Grim Reality" is a few years ahead of it´s time. It´s unusually brutal, lyrically vile, fast and aggressive for it´s time and should definitely be counted as one of the earliest grindcore/ death metal releases. A 3.5 star rating is warranted.

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