Album Review: Massacre – Resurgence


Album Review: Massacre - Resurgence
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

2014’s ‘Back from The Beyond’ earned big plus points from me, in what was the Floridan Death Metal outfit’s first release for almost 20 years. The band disbanded after that release, but time has rolled on and it’s time for the giant to reawaken once more and with a line-up that features some old faces accompanied by a fair smattering of what one can only say are stellar death metal legends. Returning to the Massacre homestead are vocalist Kam Lee (Mantas, Bone Gnawer) and original bassist Mike Borders, alongside the prolific death metal machine Rogga Johansson (Megascavenger, Rib Spreader) on guitars, Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath) on guitars, Brynjar Helgetun (Crypticus) on drums, and Scott Fairfax (Memoriam, As the World Dies) on guitars. With a line-up this good it’s fair to say that a lot might be expected of this album.

The good news is that ‘Resurgence’ delivers in spades. Opener ‘Eldritch Prophecy’ opens with an intro that builds with tension before the first riff and hammer driven drums slowly increase; there’s a brief pause, a filthy riff, a gruesome roar, and we are off. Massacre have channelled all the noxiousness from their early demos and 1991’s classic ‘From the Beyond’ to create a back to the roots feel. It’s first and foremost, unadulterated death metal. The sheer intensity is energy sapping, the drumming pulverising, and the sound huge.

Lee’s delivery is frightening. Guttural whilst still enunciating sufficiently to pick out those vocals, he works with the driving riffs and frantic blast beats, his harrowing screams blood curdling. One can only wonder what his neighbours think! It’s fair to say that this is aggressive, bludgeoning and yet, there is a power that lies within this album that provides a heaviness which isn’t forced or artificial. It’s an album that sounds organic, which is something that Borders seems in agreement with. “Honestly, the album process went smoothly. No ego or issues getting in the way, and I think we are all proud of the results. Now we’re just impatient and eager to get everything released”.

In the best traditions of the band, most tracks are short, ferocious smashes to the face. ‘Innsmouth Strain’ is a hyper blast at just over three minutes in length but it's crammed full of gigantic riffs and more of Lee’s ungodly growls, ‘Book of the Dead’ rampages like a charging bull. Moreover, Massacre have ensured that the production has remained true to the old school death metal sound, retaining enough earth and grit to avoid any over polishing finish. Borders notes that too polished isn’t good. “I think that sucks a lot of the life out of the music. More piss and vinegar, less polish! The album had to sound good, but more importantly, had to sound like Massacre. To do anything otherwise would be a disservice to our fans.”

Album Review: Massacre – Resurgence

Having proved that this version of Massacre does indeed sound as fans would want, there remains the question of imagery. Not just the artwork but the lyrical content and here as well, fans can be assured that heritage is fully considered. Plenty of Cthulhu references, sci/fi and horror themes and artwork of the highest order. There may not be an appearance of the warp beast, but Wes Benscoter (Slayer, Kreator) has created a cover of Lovecraft-inspired art to complement Lee’s lyrical overtures.

At a time when the tide of death metal bands appears relentless, sometimes its comforting to know that the old school can still show the pretenders to the crown that there is plenty of life left in the old dogs. There is a gravitas that few can match. Whilst the chance of seeing this line-up live is limited, the contributions of the legends that have joined Massacre this time around is immense. This is an album of extreme quality. If you are new to Massacre, then it’s an ideal opportunity to discover a seminal band. If you’re not in that category, then ‘Resurgence’ is likely to be welcomed with open arms.

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