MACABRE is a band to behold. They have been pile driving the foundation of their very own niche since their “Grim Reality” EP in 1987. They label their music as Murder Metal and that’s the niche I’m talking about. Ever since the start they have used murders and serial killers as a lyrical theme. What they have discovered is that reality has enough horrors to make out better and grimmer lyrics than “Drowned In Visceral Disembowelment” type of lyrics ever will be. Or what do you think about a song title like “What The Heck Richard Speck (Eight Nurses You Wrecked); a guy that went into some kind of hospital, killed 8 nurses and when asked in court why he did it, he just said: “It wasn’t their day today”. Or what about “Is It Soup Yet”, which is about a guy called Daniel Rakowitz who, after his girlfriend broke up with him, killed her, beheaded her and then proceeded on to boil her head. According to the lyrics the sick bastard ate from it as well.
I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of MACABRE spare from “Dahmer” but I admire their distinctiveness on all releases. “Dahmer” is the only MACABRE album where a single serial killer is being high lighted, on all the other releases each killer gets one song each. I understand why the guys in MACABRE got fascinated by the story of Jeffrey Dahmer because it is indeed a strange one. As a child he didn’t play with cars and colours, this guy dragged home road kill, as in animals killed on the road and played with them. That is atypical because serial killers are known to torture living, preferably small, animals before they venture on to human beings. In addition he is known as the gay killer, presumably of Afro-American heritage. He said that he picked black men because he knew that the police wouldn’t investigate those cases as neat and thorough as they would if a white gay where the victim/s. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Jeffrey Dahmer’s slayer was a man of same heritage as the gay’s he killed. Christopher Scarver smashed in his head with something called a bar, stolen from the prison weight room. If English is your mother tongue you probably understand what this bar is, I don’t. All I know is that Dahmer’s head got smashed.
When it comes to the actual music it’s not easy to pin point one exactly genre and therefore their own definition, Murder Metal, is as good as any else. At the very start, the first two songs, it’s pure Death Metal. But all attempts of genre defining become futile when “In The Army Now” appears. If you’ve heard a South State anthem called something like “When Johnny Comes Marching” you’ll recognize bits of that song in “In The Army Now”. I like when Metal bands take songs that are genuinely non Metal and break them on the wheel. Some of the attempts are of course piss poor but MACABRE doesn’t sort under that category, these guys know what they are doing. There aren’t a lot of these moments on “Dahmer”, or any other MACABRE album, but it is a consistent happening. It really adds to the entertainment. Take “Jeffrey Dahmer And The Chocolate Factory” as one last example. This is the most off the wall song on the whole album. If you’ve you seen “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory” you’ll recognize the song immediately. The lyrics are a treat as well, that goes for the whole album.
Even though MACABRE music is both absurd and hilarious there is no denying that the 3 individuals responsible are more than eminent musicians. They might not take themselves very serious but they do indeed play their instruments that way, very serious that is. That means that everything that sounds terrible on “Dahmer” is supposed to sound terrible and at times it does, especially some of the vocal work. The vocalist has, to say it least, a very strange approach. His screams are absolutely terrible but for some strange reason I don’t think they are as annoying on “Dahmer” as on their other releases. All in all I think the vocals on “Dahmer” are top notch but if I have a bad day the screams of Mr. Nefarious bug me. On any other record than this he bugs me any day. Just take a listen to the aforementioned “Is It Soup Yet?” to witness what bugs me. It’s found on an album called “Sinister Slaughter”, an album regarded as a classic by some.
If you are looking for a genuinely distinct Metal album I urge you to check out “Dahmer”, or any other MACABRE album. On behalf of myself I can only recommend “Dahmer”. This roller coaster of an album has more twist and turns than some might appreciate but if you are in for something different this is a good place to start. Just beware that you need humour to enjoy it, a twisted one I guess. (Online August 24, 2006)