MACABRE (IL) — Sinister Slaughter (review)

MACABRE (IL) — Sinister Slaughter album cover Album · 1993 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Sinister Slaughter" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Illinois based death/grindcore act Macabre. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in April 1993. It´s the successor to "Gloom" from 1989. Macabre formed in August 1984 and released the "Grim Reality" EP in 1987 and the "Shitlist" EP in 1988 before releasing "Gloom (1989)". They are often mentioned among the seminal artists, who influenced the late 80s/early 90s death metal sound. With a relatively sparse output through underground labels, their profile wasn´t as high as it could have been during the early years of the 90s, but being signed to Nuclear Blast Records, provided the band with a much better opportunity to get their music distributed to a wider audience. Nuclear Blast Records also spend money on marketing and as a result "Sinister Slaughter" fared pretty well, considering the extremity of the material featured on the album.

"Sinister Slaughter" features a cover artwork which is obviously a parody on the famous cover artwork of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)" by The Beatles. In keeping with their image, Macabre opted to put the faces of serial killers and mass murderes on the cover instead of the famous people The Beatles chose for their cover. It´s not the first time an artists has chosen to parody the famous cover (Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention for example did a parody on the cover of their "We´re Only in it for the Money (1968)" album), but Macabre´s version is probably the most controversial one, and I´m not sure The Beatles would be proud of the result...

...but that´s not really the point, and Macabre were never the band to aim to please. They are all about delivering their brand of gore drenched death metal/grindcore with as much shock value as they can. Each track on "Sinister Slaughter" features lyrics about real-life serial killers and mass murderes, and details of their hidious crimes. There are tracks featured here about infamous serial killers like Ted Bundy ("The Ted Bundy Song"), Richard Ramirez ("Night Stalker"), John Wayne Gacy ("Gacy's Lot"), Albert Fish ("Albert Was Worse Than Any Fish in the Sea"), and Peter Kürten ("Vampire of Dusseldorf"), but also one or two I hadn´t heard about before listening to the album.

While the lyrical subjects are most certainly both dark and often vile/stomach turning, Macabre occasionally mix their death metal/grindcore sound with elements from other music styles like the children song melody in the chorus of "Vampire of Dusseldorf" or the acoustic campfire performance of "Mary Bell". And the oddball humour and very different take on playing death metal/grindcore are what set Macabre apart from their contemporaries. The vocals on the album is a combination of deep growls, high pitched screaming vocals, and occassional clean vocal parts.

The above mentioned vocals are very well performed and the diversity of the vocal styles makes that part of the album a relatively varied experience. The instrumental part of the album is simple, raw, and effective death metal/grindcore, and the most special thing about it, is how the power-trio lineup of the band performs the music. Especially drummer Dennis the Menace (Dennis Ritchie) is a very skilled musician, and his drumming style is powerful, precise, and energetic. "Sinister Slaughter" features a raw and powerful sounding production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion the 21 track, 42:15 minutes long album is a quality release and a great sophomore album by Macabre. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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