- The Band – Massacre (1984 – present … but its complicated – refer to Metallum)
- The Album – From Beyond
- Country of Origin – United States
- The Year – 1991
- Lineup – Kam Lee (vocals), Rick Rozz (guitars), Terry Butler (bass), Bill Andrews (drums)
- Genre – Death Metal
- Metallum Average – 17 reviews at 80%
Other notable releases from 1991 for context – Death Shall Rise by Cancer, War Master by Bolt Thrower, Human by Death, The Ten Commandments by Malevolent Creation
So back in 1991 there was a gigantic ripple in the Death Metal scene. An album recorded at Morrisound Studios was released. It featured band members who had been in Death, and who were heavily affiliated with the Florida metal scene since the early 80s. Oh yeah, and the singer claimed to have invented the Death growl (or vokills, as Kam Lee called it). And the word on the street was that the music on the release was all written between 1984 and 1986 and the songs were well known in the local scene, and the band was infamous for a particular song about having sex with a corpse.
Just for some extra context, here are some famous releases from 1984 – 1986:
At War With Satan by Venom (1984), The Return….. by Bathory (1985), Reign in Blood by Slayer (1986)
To cap it all off, this album was being released on the mighty Earache label. And this explains the pre-release hype for the album I talk of, which is of course “From Beyond” by Massacre.
Lyrics from Dawn of Eternity
Prophet dreams – ride the winds
As black holes open for devouring
Universal chaos in the realm of time
Surface of earth – covered in rime
From beyond enter the horror
Of a dark and hideous nature
The fall of man is now at hand
Awakened from an ancient slumber
The immortal ones return
The earth is theirs ones again
The elements of early Death are obvious within this album, and despite the plethora of quality contemporary releases at the time, the sound of the music was relatively unique. Much has been written about Kam Lee and his vocal style. Simply put, he is a monster on vocals. He also seems to be a unique personality, who has caused much drama within the metal scene over the years. Read his infamous interview on Voices From The Darkside … (and trust me, when I say it is entertaining). Rick Rozz, who wrote a lot of the music for Death’s Leprosy, and likewise, Terry Butler who had writing credits on Death’s Spiritual Healing bring songs to the table that are very listenable.
The guitar tone for this album was legendary and many metalheads back in the day desperately tried dialing in their Boss Metal Zone pedals, in an attempt to emulate the sounds.
Side note, the Metal Zone pedal was much maligned post 90s, up until Ola Englund showed people how to use it in a modern sense.
The use of the synth was also spectacular in terms of creating a huge, doomish sound, with Lovecraftian vibes coming through strongly.
Man this album has grooves, with lots of slow paced heavines, and ample tremolo picking preferred over blast beats. Notably, the drum toms sound superb, with many booming rolls interspersed throughout. The album just has a depth and style that kills.
As an example, listen to Chamber of Ages, especially from the 3:09 minute mark. The riffing is 1st class, the extra deep vocals shake the depths of hell, and the toms bouncing from left to right create a cavernous Death Metal chasm for your ears. The dive bomb whammy solos are uncompromising, and clearly inspired by Kerry King.
Then there is the final song, Corpse Grinder.
The track was actually first recorded on the Death demo Reign of Terror (1984), when Kam Lee and Rick Rozz were in Death. On the demo, Kam Lee did the vocals and drums.
Not only did Kam Lee sing and drum on this version, he has also claimed to have designed the Death logo
Another side note, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher from Cannibal Corpse took his nickname from this song.
Digging up the graves to fulfill my needs
Of my necrophilic lustful greed
Sex with the dead is what I crave
Touch the cold flesh that drives me insane…
I just wonder how big these guys would have been if they had released their songs back in 1986. Possibly the Death Metal landscape would have been different, and who knows what would have happened with Death, as in effect Massacre as a band was sidelined when these guys teamed up with Chuck … and the rest as they say, is history.
The Last Word – This album is one of those rare gems that surface from time to time due to circumstance and timing. If you look at the careers of all involved (and connected), you can see why this album is so highly regarded, but also why it is a one off, and part of Death Metal folklore. If you are a fan of Old School Florida Death Metal and you haven’t heard this album, I would argue it is historically significant and needs to be a part of your metal library. So what are you waiting for, “Grind!”
If you like Metal Redux, you can listen to a Spotify Playlist that includes all music featured.