Massacre’s From Beyond
is one of the most criminally overlooked death metal albums of the 90’s. Comprised of mostly re-recorded demos from Massacre’s earlier career, it contains some of the heaviest, most well composed death metal for its time. From Beyond
was released in 1991 on Earache Records.
The first track on the album is Dawn of Eternity
. This is one of the best tracks on the album and showcases what is Massacre. Overly distorted guitars, demonic, Deicide-ish layered vocals provided by Kam Lee, and evil background sounds such as deep laughing and willowing keys provide an atmospheric boost that most raw death metal bands lack. The intro of Chamber of Ages
also has an atmospheric sense to it, which adds depth to the ensuing onslaught. This album is all out brutality, yet it has the flexibility to support melody and atmosphere without sounding forced or frankly, bull kaka.
The vocals on this album are absolutely stunning. Although layering is used somewhat, it is used sparingly enough to allow Kam Lee to utilize his gifted voice to its full potential. His lows contain the gurgle needed to sustain a heavy sounding low, yet his highs sound sharp and crisp, providing a perfect balance that every extreme vocalist dreams of. Cryptic Realms
has this balance locked in and has the riffs and sound to fit the intensity of the vocals to a tee. Overall, the tempo of Cryptic Realms
pretty much contains the tempo of the entire record. For the most part, From Beyond
is pretty slow for a death metal album. I am personally a huge fan of slower death. Its sound is heavy and crushing. While From Beyond
has its slow parts to please me, it still has its blindingly fast parts to please the fans of faster music. Corpsegrinder
, originally recorded by fellow death metal pioneers, Death, has an upbeat tempo, similar to that of Morbid Angel’s Chapel Of Ghouls
Another highlight of the album comes in the form of Defeat Remains
. This track contains the strongest guitar riffs of the album, as well as drumming of high caliber, with lightning double bass and varying snare patterns. The standout quality of the song, though, I have to say would be the present melodies. They are catchy (or as catchy as you can get for a death metal song) and heavy at the same time. Crushing down beat rhythms and droning chords create an epic track. I must give credit here to Bill Andrews. While maybe not being the flashiest or most amazing drummer in the world, he fills his position behind the kit perfectly, and his drumming suits Massacre’s sound like nobody’s business.
One down side to From Beyond
is the lack of presence of Terry Butler’s bass. Although it is all but missing, it isn’t exactly on the front lines of the music, save the solo he takes on Symbolic Immortality
and a few other spots on the album. The only other problem, while it is somewhat serious, is the guitar tone of the album. It is much too distorted for its own good. A little less distortion would have gone along way tone wise, but I must say, it is the one of its kind.
My end ruling on Massacre’s From Beyond
is that it is one fine piece of death metal history that is severely underrated inside and out of the death metal community. It might not be a total classic like Severed Survival
, it’s one solid album by one solid band.
Classic death metal at its finest
Many great tracks
Slow, heavy sound
Guitar tone could use some vast ajustments
Bass to low in the mix
Dawn Of Eternity