New Massacre album “Resurgence” is certainly that – a return to the values of old school American Death Metal…to be Released October 22 via Nuclear Blast Records
Best known for the awesome HP Lovecraft inspired 1991 album “From Beyond”, Massacre released 2 more studio albums in 1996, and 2014. Neither of which were anything close to the aforementioned, so when news of a reformed (again) Massacre and new album “Resurgence” broke earlier this year, I was pretty excited.
From Beyond vocalist, and one of the original members Kam Lee has teamed up with the Scandinavian death metal machine that is Rogga Johansson to create as he calls it “The sequel to From Beyond”. And if at this point you are scratching your head and asking “Rogga who?”, then do you even listen to death metal?! This man has more death metal bands and projects going that there are species of beetle…
The Sequel to “From Beyond”
From Beyond was always going to be a hard album to follow up, and with the constant cycle of lineup changes, it never happened. But now the stars are right, and Messrs Lee and Johansson have delivered a truly fantastic, and very worthy album. Sticking to as Kam Lee describes “The principles of old school death metal”. So don’t be expecting guttural or pig squeal vocals, gravity blast beats, or drop-tuned guitars. This is the real deal, thrashy riffs, gruff but intelligible vocals, and lots of hooks and groove.
Resurgence of Lovecraftian worship…
From Beyond took its name and artwork, from the HP Lovecraft short story of the same name. That back in 1991 was one of its big selling points for me as an avid reader of the author. When I saw the cover artwork for Resurgence, that excitement came back as strong as ever! Cthulhu, Dagon, Shoggoths, Byakhee, Night Gaunts, they all adorn this fantastic bit of art by Wes Benscoter.
The song titles themselves reflect the homage to old Howard Phillips – “The Innsmouth Strain”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” to name just a couple. But what about the music Steve?!!
The Music, the songs…
Much as “From Beyond” started with an atmospheric intro before hitting you with one of the best death metal riffs ever, “Resurgence” does just the same. Thing is, just as you get the first riff into your head properly, Massacre moves up a gear and the old school starts in earnest.
This truly is taking things back up from where “From Beyond” finished. Rogga Johansson’s riffs are executed to perfection by the 3 (yes 3) guitarists (more on them later). Thrashy, razor-sharp, and as groovy as hell, I defy you not to be bobbing your head after 2 minutes. Lee’s distinctive growl cuts through the instruments, which are all perfect in the mix and production. And it is still brutal as hell whilst you are still able to understand what he’s saying.
Pretty much all of the tracks on here gallop along at a mid to fast pace, without hitting any breakneck speeds. This allows the songs to be appreciated individually without the blurring together a lot of modern tech or brutal death metal does.
A bit more detail on the songs
First track “Eldritch Prophecy” as has already been said, sets the scene with an atmospheric build-up that gets heavier. Then the dam breaks at the 01:56 mark, with the tempo changing, and Kam Lee growling his way into the song.
“Ruins of R’lyeh” with loads of Cthulhu references, and a very catchy mid-paced riff that had my feet happily tapping along. The second-longest song after the lead track, this one does not waste time with a lengthy intro, instead, the dark riff draws you in…
“The Innsmouth Strain” fairly rips the clothes from your back as it surges forwards. Much like the Deep Ones from Lovecraft’s novella “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” do from Devils Reef..
“The Whisperer in Darkness” is one of my favourite Lovecraft stories, and I’m not disappointed with this next track of the same name. Keeping the pace up from the previous track, this one culminates in the chant heard made by humans and alien voices in the story. “ia! ia! Shub Niggurath, Goat of a thousand young!”. Bloody brilliant!
“Book of The Dead” finishes off this first batch of songs, all of which are such obvious worship to Lovecraft, and the Cthulhu Mythos. The next four tracks deliver more of it, again with some great build-ups, bridges, and grooves running through all of them. Trust me though, this album is like that really nice bottle of wine that you’ll “just have one glass of”, but like it so much you will want to finish the whole lot!
The return of….
You’ve drunk all the wine, so now you need to finish off with a shot of something that bit more potent, and memorable. Massacre will not disappoint you with the final track then! “From Beyond” finished with a tale of depraved grave robbing and necrophilia with “Corpse Grinder”.
Guess what? The filthy deviant is back with the track entitled “Return Of The Corpse Grinder”! The perfect end to a damn near perfect album, this raging little number clocks in at just over two and a half minutes, delivering an effective full stop. Or is that a cliffhanger? I sincerely hope so, as I loved every minute, every riff, every growl of this brilliant return, and am ready for the next instalment…
A perfect production team
Much kudos has to be paid to the production team of Dan Swano (Demiurge, Bloodbath, Edge of Sanity) and Jonny Petterson (Wombbath), who really picked out the old school sound with a production that is clean, but not too polished or overproduced. The feel is very organic whilst retaining a raw edge that allows all the instruments and vocals space to be heard clearly with neither crowding out the other.
Along with the main band members (see below), Kam Lee also got several death metal luminaries of the old school to appear on the album. These being Dave Ingram (Benediction), Anders Odden (Cadaver), Pete Slate (Druid Lord), and Marc Grewe (Morgoth, Insidious Disease)
Resurgence is an album I was hoping to the Elder Gods, would not be an anticlimax, as 2014’s “Back From Beyond” was. I’ve got to say, I’m not disappointed at all! This is everything Kam Lee said it would be. Surrounding himself with great musicians including original Massacre bassist Mike Borders, and a great production team, he has delivered on all counts.
It’s thrashy, it’s gruff, it’s catchy as hell, and after 10 tracks I still wanted more. So I played it again – another 6 times on the trot! If you love old school death metal, then Resurgence is a must-have in your collection!
Ruins of R’lyeh
The Innsmouth Strain
The Whisperer In Darkness
Book Of The Dead
Into The Far Off Void
Servants Of Discord
Fate Of The Elder Gods
Spawn Of The Succubus
Return Of The Corpse Grinder
Total playing time 41:00 minutes
Kam Lee – Vocals
Mike Borders – Bass
Rogga Johansson – Guitars
Jonny Pettersson – Guitars
Scott Fairfax – Guitar solos
Bynjar Helgetun – Drums
- CD 15.99 EUR Vinyl LP 22.99 EUR