A Hidden Gem: Macabre

Image Courtesy of Nuclear Blast

John Coyne, Staff Writer

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Every metal band had the same idea following the thrash movement in the 80s: how do we make this music more extreme? So thrash branched out into three main trees: Black Metal (Satan Worshippers), Death Metal (The Superior Genre), and Grindcore (“Full Throttle”). What Macabre (straight to the point with their name) was trying to achieve was no different from all these bands, but their own unique twist is what makes them so memorable. Not only are they more memorable, but the musicians in the band also kick major butt. Early in Macabre’s discography, they could be classified as part of the Grindcore tree, but as the years went on, they turned into an animal unlike no other, taking bits of elements from all kind of music imaginable. The theme of Macabre’s writing material is serial killers. The very first song they ever recorded is titled “Serial Killer,” and that’s all they have sung about since that day in 1987. Following their 1987 EP Grim Reality with their good ol’ song “Serial Killer” on it, came their 1989 album Gloom with classic tracks such as “Holidays of Horror,” “McMassacre (James Huberty),” and, my personal favorite, “Dr. Holmes (He Stripped Their Bones).” The songs are super short embodying the popular grindcore style of speed and shock of the subject matter. 

This album was not quite a breakthrough for the band yet, however. This did not happen until their 1993 album Sinister Slaughter and I think the album cover is what drew a lot of people into this album. It’s a play on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, except everyone has been replaced by serial killers (how cool is that). This is where Macabre truly shaped their sound and created what is known as Murder Metal, and there is only one band that plays Murder Metal, and that’s Macabre. The best song on this album would have to be “Zodiac,” talking about the Zodiac killer who has yet to be found. This song is used as the intro to all of their concerts, and for a solid three or four minutes before the concert starts, the singer whispers and screams Zodiac, which is so creepy and so awesome at the same time. On the topic of the singer, Lance Lencioni (aka Corporate Death), the band’s creepiness can be accredited to its subject matter of serial killers, of course, but it should really be accredited to his singing style, which is all over the place, singing as if he was actually a crazy serial killer.

This especially comes to form when they released their 2000 album, which is what the band (once you go deep enough down the metal rat hole) is known for. As discussed, Macabre likes to talk about serial killers, but they had yet to show just the true amount of passion and dedication towards one, until 2000. Their 2000 album is entitled Dahmer, and clocks in at 52 minutes with 26 songs. It’s all about just who you think it is… Jeffrey Dahmer. The entire album is dedicated (wait… that’s not the right word) – goes through a biography of Dahmer’s life through the music. The first song on the album, again one of my favorites, “Dog Guts,” talks about how, “it started with a tadpole, killed it before it could grow into a frog. Then Jeffrey resorted to playing with the intestines of decaying dogs.” The album progresses and ends with its 26th song, “The Brain,” saying, “All that remains of the man who was insane, inside of a jar is Jeffrey Dahmer’s brain.”

After their success with this album (although I wish more metalheads and people, in general, knew about it) they brought back their old formula and released their 2003 album Murder Metal, simply calling back to the chaos they have created. If I had to describe Macabre, I would say the band is ridiculous, yet totally awesome. Everyone in the band is a maniac and has so much fun with what they have done with their lives, and they love the fan interaction and providing the entertainment. I love this band… and you should too. Stay metal! \m/