Review Summary: Macabre's Sinister Slaughter is another one of their entries in their own genre, "Murder Metal". That means it's got dark humor, brutality, and fast paced music with nursery rhyme lyrical structure. Worth your time if any of that sounds good to you.
Of course, the two major accomplishments of Macabre's career is their every steady line-up and their pioneering of the genre "Murder Metal". If you aren't already familiar with Macabre, they've had the same 3 people in their band for their entire career, which is very impressive. They also combined Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Grindcore, Nursery Rhymes and Folk music to create a genre known as "Murder Metal", in which every song is a story about a serial killer. With multiple albums under this style out, this is one of the two I consider to be Macabre's best.
First of all, let me say that this band is not for everyone, and like most of the bands I enjoy, you will either love or hate this band. That's why they could best be described as a "cult band".
The very first thing to notice about this album is the album cover. A parody of The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers" (of which Macabre is a great fan of), the album cover shows two kick drums with "Sinister Slaughter" on the front, the word "Macabre" spelled out in bones, and a bunch of serial killer cut outs posing for a group picture (with Macabre on the left side)
The first aspect of their music that immediately stands out is the vocals. On this particular release, all of the vocals are Death metal oriented (with the exception of "Mary Bell"), but with a twist - falsetto. Corporate Death, lead singer of the band, has a wide range of vocal powers, and continues to use a style that I call the "Paul Baloff of Death Metal". He basically gives a high pitched scream that turns into a growl as he does it. He sort of uses a falsetto note that descends into a growl. But he doesn't always do that. Occasionally he does lower register death metal vocals (see "Zodiac"), but most of the time he does the falsetto sound. It's not one-dimensional singing, but if you don't like the tone of his voice, you're going to have a difficult time enjoying the band. Think of it like King Diamond - if you can't take his voice, you're probably not going to even listen to the music. But Corporate Death's vocals are really unique and suit the sense of humor the band has very well.
The second aspect is immediately the lyrics. The lyrics on this album are all about serial killers, and all of them have a sense of humor and follow certain lyrical patterns. For example, "Zodiac" directly quotes a letter that the Zodiac Killer sent to police. Also, "There was a Young Man who Blew Up a Plane" follows the lyrical meter of "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly", while singing about Jack Gilbert Graham, who bombed a plane and killed 44 people. This black humor aspect will cause some people to label Macabre as "sick", "depraved", and "not funny", while others will find it hilarious or at least interesting. Again, this band's cult status causes a split between people who listen to them, you either immediately like the vocals and the sense of humor, or you don't. And because of that, the band gains rabid fans and rabid enemies. Being a fan myself, I feel the need to point out that every aspect of the band attracts controversy, and so it's hard to truly judge them as a good or bad band. But basically, the vocals are well done but the tone will annoy many, and the lyrics are morbid but if you have the right sense of humor you will enjoy them.
The third aspect is finally the music. The music on this album is the highlight for me. It's a combination of Folk music, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, a bit of Grindcore influence, and a bit of Macabre's own unique twists (see "Mary Bell"). The music is repetitive from song to song, so if you like the riffs, you'll like the album. The drums are always changing due to Dennis The Menace's frantic drumming style, but the bass and guitar follow a basic pattern. You will get a wide variety of styles and riffs and tempos and everything, but because of the music's simple structure, it might seem a bit boring to some. But the technicality is very high on this record, and you'll notice that if you listen to "What the Hell did you Do?", which starts with a flamenco style (I believe) guitar intro, with acoustic shredding, as well as the song "Vampire of Dusseldorf", which towards the end turns into a technical odyssey for it's very short run time. "Vampire of Dusseldorf" is what I consider the highlight of the album, and the perfect summary of what the band sounds like. That's why I offer the song to you below, so you can listen to this one song and decide if you think it's good enough to listen to -
Final Thoughts - Macabre's Sinister Slaughter is clever, funny, bizarre, brutal, fast, and diverse in sound. But not everyone will understand or respect their sense of humor, their lyrics, their riffing or their sloppiness as a band. Don't be disappointed if you don't like them, but don't hate them immediately. Give them time to sink in, because you're likely to either be immediately repulsed or immediately intrigued. With time, anybody could become a fan. I suggest this album as a starting point to those who want to know more about Macabre, because it's a shame that more and more people just immediately shut off some great music because of a few aesthetic details that would most likely grow on them if they gave it a proper chance.
Recommended to all fans of Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Grindcore, and Black Humor.