MACABRE (IL)

Death Metal • 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 3.28 | 5 ratings
Gloom
Death Metal 1989
MACABRE (IL) Sinister Slaughter album cover 3.77 | 7 ratings
Sinister Slaughter
Death Metal 1993
MACABRE (IL) Dahmer album cover 4.19 | 7 ratings
Dahmer
Death Metal 2000
MACABRE (IL) Murder Metal album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Murder Metal
Death Metal 2003
MACABRE (IL) Grim Scary Tales album cover 4.00 | 5 ratings
Grim Scary Tales
Death Metal 2011
MACABRE (IL) Carnival Of Killers album cover 4.07 | 3 ratings
Carnival Of Killers
Death Metal 2020

MACABRE (IL) EPs & splits

MACABRE (IL) Grim Reality album cover 3.64 | 3 ratings
Grim Reality
Death Metal 1987
MACABRE (IL) Shitlist album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shitlist
Death Metal 1988
MACABRE (IL) Nightstalker album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nightstalker
Death Metal 1993
MACABRE (IL) Behind the Wall of Sleep album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Death Metal 1994
MACABRE (IL) Macabre vs. Capitalist Casualties album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Macabre vs. Capitalist Casualties
Death Metal 2001
MACABRE (IL) Morbid Campfire Songs album cover 3.58 | 2 ratings
Morbid Campfire Songs
Death Metal 2002
MACABRE (IL) Human Monsters album cover 3.50 | 1 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) Nuclear Blast Promo EP II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nuclear Blast Promo EP II
Death Metal 1993
MACABRE (IL) Masters of Murder album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters of Murder
Death Metal 2001
MACABRE (IL) How Are You, Kid? album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
How Are You, Kid?
Death Metal 2020

MACABRE (IL) re-issues & compilations

MACABRE (IL) Unabomber album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Unabomber
Death Metal 1999
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) Slaughter Thy Poser album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Slaughter Thy Poser
Death Metal 2012

MACABRE (IL) singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Drill Bit Lobotomy
Death Metal 2003

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) Carnival Of Killers

Album · 2020 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Carnival of Killers" is the 6th full-length studio album by US extreme metal act Macabre. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in November 2020. It´s the successor to "Grim Scary Tales" from 2011 and as always features the trio lineup of Corporate Death (guitars, lead vocals), Nefarious (bass, vocals), and Denis The Menace (drums). It´s not often you come across an act formed in the mid-1980s, who have never experienced a lineup change. So it´s not the number of lineup changes which have caused the many years between album releases. 8 Years between the release of "Murder Metal (2003)" and "Grim Scary Tales (2011)" and now a 9 year wait between "Grim Scary Tales (2011)" and "Carnival of Killers". That´s only 3 albums in 20 years...

...oh well I prefer quality over quantity any day, and in that department Macabre have always delivered. Stylistically "Carnival of Killers" continues the eclectic combination of musical styles that Macabre have been exponents for since day one. Death metal, grindcore, thrash metal, punk, blues, country music/bluegrass, folk/traditionals, children´s songs/lullabies, and all sorts of other bits and pieces from various musical styles are put into the melting pot, and out comes the sound of Macabre. The lyrics are as always about real-life serial killers/mass murderes like Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy, and Richard Speck. Some have been the lyrical subject of tracks featured on preceding releases by Macabre, but they´ve also found new unpleasant and vile stories to tell. One of them ("Tea Cakes") about female Italian serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli, who murdered three women and then turned their bodies into soap and tea cakes, which she distributed to friends and neighbours.

Some of the real-life stories told on "Carnival of Killers" are so nauseating and vile, that they are hard to believe, and they are much, much worse than anything your typical goregrind/gore themed death metal act can cook up (because they are actually real). Macabre handle the source material in a bizarre humorous fashion, which makes listening to the album a sort of forbidden guilty pleasure. For example take a listen to how Ted Bundy´s story is told on "The Wheels On The Bug", using the traditional children´s song "The Wheels on The Bus", Macabre handling another track about German serial killer Fritz Harmann singing in German on "Warte Warte", or "Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts" about mass murderer Richard Speck eating hormones and growing breast in prison, to be better able to sexually satisfy his fellow inmates. It´s as morbid and bizarre as it gets.

The stories are told in the usual manic and diverse vocals style of Macabre. Clean vocals, high pitched screaming vocals, deep death metal growling, and aggressive raw snarling vocals. Sometimes layered, sometimes not. The musicianship is on a high level. The vocals are well performed and creative, the guitar riffs are sharp and the solos well played, the bass audible and active, and as the icing on the cake the incredibly skilled drumming by Denis The Menace. The latter is an unique extreme metal drummer, who is able to blast away, and play fiercely fast double pedal, but also add more original touches to the rhythm part of the music. His greatest asset though is how he is always able to drive the music forward in the most powerful way possible. The tracks are often pretty simple in both idea and structure, but he is able to get much out of little.

Macabre know they have something special in Denis The Menace and his drums are placed very high in the mix. "Carnival of Killers" is overall a well produced album, and although the drums are high in the mix, the guitars, bass, and vocals are also clearly audible. Upon conclusion the 9 year wait was worth it as Macabre have again produced a high quality release loaded with material in their unique style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

MACABRE (IL) Murder Metal

Album · 2003 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Murder Metal" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, Illinois based death/grindcore act Macabre. The album was released through Decomposed Records in September 2003. It´s the successor to "Dahmer" from 2000, although the band did release the "Morbid Campfire Songs (2002)" EP under the Macabre Minstrels monicker between the two full-length albums.

As opposed to it´s predecessor, which was a concept album, where all tracks followed the life and crimes of US serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, "Murder Metal" is, like "Gloom (1989)" and "Sinister Slaughter (1993)", composed of individual tracks each telling the story of various serial killers and murderes. So the overall lyrical concept hasn´t changed and stylistically "Murder Metal" also feels like the natural successor to "Dahmer (2000)". Both albums feature similar sounding and very powerful Neil Kernon productions, and a rather adventurous (yet still relatively simple) combination of thrash, death, and grindcore, and various other influences ranging from folk traditionals to nursery-rhyme type melodies. The vocal part of Macabre´s music has always been one of their greatest assets, and something which made them stand out, and that trend continues on "Murder Metal", where the vocals vary between deep death metal growling, a more aggressive type of growling, high pitched hysterical screaming, and various types of clean vocals.

The instrumental part of the album is very well performed too. The guitars are sharp, the bass is clearly audible in the mix, which helps cement how talented Nefarious really is, and Dennis the Menace is nothing short of a drummer extraordinaire. The way he drives the music forward and is in complete control of making rhythm- and tempo changes in the most natural fashion, is an absolute joy to listen to.

"Murder Metal" features 13 tracks and a full playing time of 44:19 minutes. As something a bit different the album closes with the 12:48 minutes long "Fritz Haarman der Metzger" (featuring German lyrics and a slight black metal influence). A track length which is highly unusual for a band who usually write songs between 1 and 3 minutes long. It´s not a long "epic" track though (although there actually are a couple of epic moments featured on the track) and it stops after 5 minutes, which are then followed by 5 minutes of low noises, before a "hidden" track kicks in for the last 2 minutes of the track. To my ears the low noise section is a bit of a shame and slightly annoying. Especially considering the brilliance of the two other parts of the track. But that is about my only complaint when it comes to "Murder Metal", which is otherwise packed with high quality material. It´s raw, powerful, and quite unique sounding, and should appeal to those who prefer their extreme metal to sound unconventional.

It´s hard to pick highlights, as all tracks deserve equal praise, but the above mentioned "Fritz Haarman der Metzger", "Fatal Foot Fetish", and "Morbid Minister" are to my ears some of the standout tracks. I´d also like to give a special mention to "The Hillside Stranglers", which features part of the same chorus melody and lyrics as were also featured on "The Vampire of Düsseldorf" from "Sinister Slaughter (1993)". That´s what the late Frank Zappa would have referred to as conceptual continuity, and it works pretty well here. Who would have thought that Frank Zappa and Macabre were kindred spirits. Of course they both made a spoof of the cover artwork for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)" by The Beatles, but still...the point here being that there is more to Macabre than meets the eye/ear.

Upon conclusion "Murder Metal" is another high quality release by Macabre, and considering the extremely high quality of "Dahmer (2000)", it´s safe to say the band were on an artistic roll in those years. "Dahmer (2000)" still stands as the peak/masterpiece of their career, but "Murder Metal" isn´t far behind, and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

MACABRE (IL) Morbid Campfire Songs

EP · 2002 · Death Metal
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"Morbid Campfire Songs" is an EP release by US, Illinois based death/grindcore act Macabre. The EP was released through Decomposed Records and was originally only sold on the band´s 2002 tour under the Macabre Minstrels monicker. It was picked up by Season of Mist for a reissue in 2004. The reissue version features a different cover artwork to the original version. "Morbid Campfire Songs" bridges the gap between the band´s third and fourth full-length studio albums "Dahmer (2000)" and "Murder Metal (2003)".

The 5 tracks on the 18:52 minutes long EP are very different in style from the band´s usual gore drenched serial killer themed extreme metal style, as this is basically a stripped down acoustic EP with Macabre´s versions of various famous traditionals like "Tom Dooley" and "The Cat Came Back". Musically the band deliver fairly "straight" versions of the songs, but they occasionally twist the lyrics a bit in the more vile direction, which of course isn´t surprising if you´re familiar with Macabre. Usually acoustic releases can get a bit tedious, but this one puts a smile on my face, and as it´s only an EP length release, it doesn´t overstay it´s welcome.

The sound production is warm and organic, and it´s a sound which suits the music perfectly. Macabre have shown before that they go outside the often narrow boundaries of extreme metal and successfully incorporate everything from children songs, to traditionals, to blues, to soundtrack music, to their otherwise pretty extreme type of metal. This is the first time they´ve went 100% out of their usual style though, but to my ears the experiment works well, and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MACABRE (IL) Human Monsters

EP · 2010 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Human Monsters" is an EP release by US, Illinois based death/grindcore act Macabre. The EP was released through Obscene Productions in June 2010. All four tracks on the 15:52 minutes long EP would also be featured on Macabre´s fifth full-length studio album "Grim Scary Tales (2011)", so "Human Monsters" could be labelled a "teaser" release. At that point in time, the band´s last release was "Murder Metal" from 2003 (if the DVD release "True Tales of Slaughter and Slaying (2006)" aren´t counted), so the fans were probably hungry for new audio material. "Human Monsters" is a vinyl only release limited to 1000 copies. So in addition to being a teaser release, it´s also a collector´s item...

...and that is the mindset you have to have when reviewing "Human Monsters", because otherwise it is quite a redundant release if you already have "Grim Scary Tales (2011)". The quality of the material on the EP is relatively high although Macabre have overall created better releases in the past. "Dracula" is not the most interesting Macabre track, "The Big Bad Wolf" is slightly better and includes a children´s melody (a Macabre trademark), "Countess Bathory" is a slightly tame Venom cover, and "The Bloody Benders" is a fairly standard quality Macabre track. So there´s nothing out of the ordinary here although the quality is overall relatively high.

The material is well produced and if you´re familiar with Macabre it won´t come as a surprise that the musicianship is top notch too. Especially drummer Dennis the Menace (Dennis Ritchie) is an incredibly skilled musician. The vocals are as always a combination of clean vocals, growling, and aggressive snarling and as always a highlight of the band´s music. So upon conclusion the quality of the release is high enough although without making my blood boil wildly. So even though there´s nothing feautured on this release you probably haven´t already listened to on "Grim Scary Tales (2011)", and it is therefore per definition a hardcore fan item, I´ll chose to rate it on its own merits and therefore a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MACABRE (IL) Unabomber

Boxset / Compilation · 1999 · Death Metal
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"Unabomber" is a compilation by US extreme metal act Macabre. The compilation was released through Decomposed Records in 1999. At this point it had been quite a few years since the release of the band´s last full-length studio album "Sinister Slaughter (1993)" and although they did release the "Behind the Wall of Sleep" EP in 1994, there had been awfully quiet from the Macabre camp for some years.

While the "Unabomber" compilation broke the silence, there is only one track here which is exclusive to this recording, and that is the title track. The two demo versions of "Ambassador Hotel" and "The Brain", which would appear in their "regular" studio versions on the "Dahmer (2000)" album only a year down the line, are in these particular versions also exclusive to this release, but especially "Ambassador Hotel" sounds very similar to the version on "Dahmer (2000)". "The Brain" features effects on the vocals, which provide this version of the song with a psychadelic twist, but the core elements of the song are the same as the version on "Dahmer (2000)". There are only 7 tracks featured on the 17:01 minutes long compilation, and the remaining four tracks are culled from the "Grim Reality (1987)" EP and from Macabre´s debut full-length studio album "Gloom (1989)" (two tracks from each release).

So there are no tracks featured from "Sinister Slaughter (1993)", which makes it a bit of an odd compilation in terms of who the target audience is. With only half of the very short compilation featuring "rarity/different version" type material, and the rest just being culled directly off the releases they originally appeared on, doesn´t make it a very interesting release for fans, and for newcommers there simply isn´t enough material to provide a decent impression of what Macabre sounds like. Add to that the fact that there aren´t a single track featured from "Sinister Slaughter (1993)", and this becomes a bit of a redundant compilation release.

With the issues out of the way, the material featured on "Unabomber" is still worth a listen though. Macabre deliver their material with great passion and conviction, and they have a very unique extreme metal style, which is also a great asset. So while I don´t find the idea behind releasing "Unabomber" that great, and the release in itself a bit redundant the quality of the recordings still makes me rate it with a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

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