Originally written by Jason Jordan.
Brutal death metal incumbents Masacre have returned to office for the first time in many years, and Total Death is quite an accomplishment. But, as is the case with their Xtreem Music (great label with a less-than-great moniker) peers, the originality factor tends to play an insignificant role while songwriting, musicianship, and downright punishing instrumentation occupy the forefront. Sometimes, that arrangement is fine by me.
My chief complaint with groups attached to Xtreem Music is that the records are too damn short. Releases by Human Mincer and Kataplexia don’t even brush against the thirty-minute mark, though thankfully Total Death fares better due to lengthier presence. Of course, the music that inhabits the disc kills, to put it simply. MetalReview aficionados will, undoubtedly, recall the opener “Slaves of Death” as it just barely edged out fellow contenders Adramelech (review forthcoming) and Defleshed to secure an Mp3 War trophy. On the whole, Masacre have a penchant for speed, but they also like to incorporate elements such as guitar leads, inventive drumming, and top-heavy growls in order to get their points across.
Really, one could argue that Masacre don’t necessarily fit into the brutal death metal corral; however, when listening to songs like “Oh My God!” and “Conflicts for Peace,” I’m not as concerned with categorization as I am with paying attention to the notable riffwork and other idiosyncrasies. Those rummaging for comparisons could do much worse than sifting through the Xtreem Music back inventory for similar acts, and I’m positive that Total Death – the group’s fourth full-length – is one of the label’s most appetizing platters.
All in all, the music fits together nicely and seamlessly meshes with my tastes. Like I mentioned, however, the pioneer spirit (i.e. forging new paths) does not reside within Masacre, though this trail is just as worthy for traversal as anything else I’ve come across. So, in other words, take a hike.