MACABRE (IL) — Gloom (review)

MACABRE (IL) — Gloom album cover Album · 1989 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Gloom" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Illinois based death/grindcore act Macabre. The album was released through Vinyl Solutions in 1989. "Gloom" was originally only released on vinyl, but already in 1990 Vinyl Solutions opted to release it on CD too. The album has since seen several reissues with various combinations of bonus material.

Macabre formed in August 1984 and released the "Grim Reality" EP in 1987 and the "Shitlist" EP in 1988 before releasing "Gloom". They are often mentioned among the seminal artists, who influenced the late 80s/early 90s death metal sound. The music style on "Gloom" is not "straight" death metal by any means though. A more fitting description would probably be a melting pot of death metal, thrash metal, grindcore, and children song type melodies (and in the case of "Holidays of Horror" a Christmas type melody). All packed in a gore drenched and often serial killer themed lyrical universe.

Macabre are a three-piece consisting of Nefarious (Charles Lescewicz) on bass and vocals, Dennis the Menace (Dennis Ritchie) on drums, and Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) on guitar and vocals. And they are a power-trio if I ever heard one. Every instrument are equally audible and powerful sounding in the mix. The bass works as much as a guitar as the guitar does, and the energetic, very skillfully executed, and powerful drumming by Dennis the Menace is worth a mention too. The vocal duties are shared between Nefarious and Corporate Death, and together they deliver a pretty crazy extreme metal vocal attack. It´s a combination of deep growling vocals and higher pitched aggressive ditto, which in itself isn´t that unusual (a bit more back then though), but the high pitched vocals have an almost hysterical screaming quality to them, which is quite unique for Macabre. The extreme metal vocal styles are spiced up with quite a few clean vocal parts. The latter vocal style is often delivered with melodies that resemble simple children songs. It´s actually pretty bizarre considering that these guys sing about real life serial killers, grizzly murders, and other gory events.

It´s all a bit campy and delivered with a gleam in the eye, and although they deliver their music with great skill and conviction, Macabre are not an act, who take themselves too seriously, which in this case is a great thing. They possess the rare ability to put a smile on your face, while at the same time make your stomach turn with some vile gory details from some of the hideous real-life murders they sing about. They would take the serial killer theme much further on subsequent releases, and on "Gloom" they combine their serial killer tunes with more general gore themed tracks. Among the real-life serial killers they sing about on "Gloom" are the infamous German serial killer Fritz Haarman, who was suspected of cannibalizing his victims, but also selling the remaining meat to unsuspecting customers on the black market of the starving 1920s German Weimar Republic, and the American serial killer Gary Leon Ridgway, who is better known as The Green River Murderer.

"Gloom" features 21 tracks and a full playing time of 24:33 minutes, so it´s over almost before you notice. "Funeral Home" is the longest track on the album with it´s 2:39 minutes long playing time, so naturally the rest of the tracks are very short. It works really well for Macabre though, and as their tracks are generally very simple in structure, a longer playing time might have made them a bit tedious. "Gloom" features a raw, powerful, and for the time relatively detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly, and upon conclusion "Gloom" is a promising and rather unique sounding debut album. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
9 months ago
I´m a huge fan of Macabre. It´s not that I think all their releases are perfect, which my ratings also show, but I greatly respect them for how original they sound. I´ve been so Lucky to see them twice live, and that´s where they really shine. One of the greatest extreme metal live acts I have ever seen. Very Unique live experience which is part music, part storytelling, and just crazy through the roof musicianship...
Vim Fuego wrote:
9 months ago
I love this crazy little album! And the remastered version is one of the few occasions where a remastering makes a huge difference to the sound. It's clearer, but not necessarily better or worse.


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