Review Summary: Should have stayed in the grave.
If we're really being honest here it’s not that hard to admit that Massacre were never actually that good. From Beyond
has gained a lot of infamy over time, but, compared to what else was coming out in 1991, it just doesn’t really compare, especially in a more than 20 year retrospect. The songs consisted of nothing more than generic power chord thrash riffs Exodus played better in 1985, the drumming rarely went beyond some double bass patterns, skank beats, and a few tom fills, and Kam Lee’s supposedly legendary vocals kind of sounded like everyone else did at the time. It was by no means a bad album; it just wasn’t the classic record it’s hyped up to be. As far as no frills, brain-dead death metal went bands like Cancer and Obituary had far more to offer than Massacre ever did. We won’t even mention 1996’s Promise
because the mid-90’s were a dark time for basically everybody, and they probably already feel bad enough about that one.
Now in 2014, on the tail end of this new wave of old school death metal craze that’s been raging since sometime around 2009, Massacre apparently have decided the time is ripe for a comeback album. So what exactly does a Massacre album sound like in 2014? Well, it kind of sounds just like a Massacre album did in 1991 just newer, and more boring. The only thing that’s strikingly different this time around is that Kam Lee isn’t doing vocals, but it also doesn’t really make that much of a difference since you can’t really tell. The aptly titled Back From Beyond
treads on the exact same ground From Beyond
did more than 20 years ago, and while it’s not really bad, it suffers from the fact that it wouldn’t have really been that good in 1990 and it’s now 2014.
Back From Beyond
could have very well been the same riff for 45 minutes and nobody would have noticed. By the time you get to track five everything sounds so homogeneous it almost becomes background noise. The production is kind of flat and modern, and of course it’s brickwalled to all hell. The vocals sound like a mix of every single death metal vocalist whose names you never knew in all those death metal bands you only listened to one time and then forgot about. Even the riffs just sort of arbitrarily switch between mid tempo chugging and some tremolo riffing with no real energy or purpose. There’s nothing inherently bad about any part of Back From Beyond
, but there’s also nothing really good about it either. The nail in the coffin is the fact that the album is a terrifyingly massive 14 tracks long, which is far too many for even a good death metal album to try and pull off.
If you’re a huge Massacre fan, and can get over the fact that Kam Lee is off doing vox for bands that aren’t good either, Back From Beyond
might be worth your time if you’re really bored one night and ran out of sleeping pills or weed. Otherwise, it ends up being nothing more than a tedious exercise in extreme patience. Lacking just about any and all elements that make you want to come back to a death metal album and listen to it again, Massacre’s Back From Beyond
offers nothing that you haven’t already heard before. And I promise you, you’ve most certainly already heard it before.