Massacre have been through multiple line-up changes over the last nearly 40 years since their inception, but they are widely regarded as one of the most important bands on the death metal scene, creating a style which has impacted and influenced many others. Indeed, original singer Kam Lee is widely viewed as the person who invented the growl now used by many. He first came to prominence in the very early days of Death, performing on their early demo tapes before joining Massacre, where alongside bassist Mike Borders, drummer Bill Andrews and guitarist Allen West he recorded the ‘Aggressive Tyrant’ demo in 1986. The band split-up and reformed multiple times over the years, with Kam last being with the band in 2007, but having won a court case to gain rights to the name, he created a new version of Massacre which saw them release their fourth album, ‘Resurgence’ in 2021. Apart from Kam, none of the band had previously been on a Massacre album, although bassist Mike Borders did appear on the 1986 demos.
With some semblance of stability, all those who appeared on that album are also on this new 4-track EP with Kam and Mike joined by Brynjar Helgetun (drums), Jonny Pettersson (guitars), Rogga Johansson (guitars) and Scott Fairfax (lead guitar) and a jolly romp it is too. As one might expect from someone who was involved with death metal from the very earliest days of the scene, Kam knows exactly what he is doing and has pulled together a band who are polished, full of finesse, and packed full of chops. It is hard to pick fault with this, as the vocals are on point, the drums provide the backdrop, the bass rumbles in the background to provide the foundation while the three guitarists are incredibly tight. Helgetun played with Kam in his solo days, while all the musicians (apart from Borders) have been in multiple bands, so it is no surprise they know what they are doing. In fact, the only real issue I have with this release is that it is just an EP, as it is crying out for more material. However, none of these songs appeared on last year’s album, and there has been another single since this came out at the beginning of July, so it really does look these guys are putting their heads down and working hard.
This is death metal which demonstrates how it is possible to bring together commerciality and brutality in the same genre, and the result is something which crosses genres yet appeals to both. Massacre are well and truly back.
9/10 Kev Rowland