Review Summary: "Wave of murder which is sweeping the eastern third of the nation is being committed by creatures who feast upon the flesh of their victims."
The second half of the 2000's saw the emergence of two genres of music in the underground: deathcore, which is still around today; and one sometimes dubbed "scenegrind", which had almost completely faded out by the end of the decade. I trust that most who stumble upon this review will be familiar with deathcore, but to give a brief explanation of scenegrind, it's a genre that derived from early 2000's metalcore, in which the songs are composed of spastic but technical riffing, blastbeats, wailing screams, and breakdowns – and are usually no longer than two minutes in length. While deathcore and scenegrind had similar roots, they seemed to have very little musical overlap, and shared only the commonality of having a mutual fanbase (scene kids from Myspace, hence the name of the latter). There was, however, one band during this time period that struck me as having blended the two genres together perfectly - that band being Dance Club Massacre, on their debut album Feast of the Blood Monsters
Before listening to Feast of the Blood Monsters
, if one observes the cover art, they will notice that it looks like the poster or flyer for a 1930's horror film (more so on the original, but also on the re-release). The opening track, !Dios Mio! El Diablo Es Muy Picante
, begins with a few seconds of static that one would hear in the background of these old movies, which steadily builds into a slow and eerie tune with an organ and a harp. I envision this track as the opening credits for this cinematic-style album, whereas on the second track, Meet Me in the Pub for a Shot of Dignity
, the listener is thrown into the first of the album's short, chaotic bursts. Somewhere almost in the background of the guitar riffing and blastbeats are Nick Seger's incomprehensible screams, which serve more as a conveyance of terror than a lyrical output. The intentionally murky production of the instrumentals – done to remain consistent with the old horror movie theme – also quickly becomes apparent.
From Devon Butler's Dying Wishes
onward, the album alternates between shorter and grindier tracks, and four-plus minute songs that contain mostly deathcore-style riffs and breakdowns. It's during the more tame moments when Matt Hynek's keyboards, which are my favorite aspect of the album, are able to shine. Alternating between haunted piano and antique organ tones, Hynek will often take the lead with creepy-sounding licks during breakdowns and intermissions. Also used sparingly but effectively are sound-clips from a variety of sources, ranging from the movie Night of the Living Dead
to Winston Churchill's "This was their finest hour" speech. Since the lyrics on the album are indecipherable, the clips give a sense of pacing to the narrative (most notably the woman's screams from The Blaire Witch Project
near the end of Murders Come With Smiles
The musical ebb and flow of Feast of the Blood Monsters
, which again is constituted by the alternation of grind and deathcore-style tracks, emulates the alternation between suspenseful buildup scenes and murder scenes in horror movies. As someone who listened to scenegrind and deathcore during the rise of their popularity, and still goes back to find bands of either genre from the time period that I may have missed, I can almost guarantee that there isn't another band that mixed the two genres together as seamlessly as Dance Club Massacre did, and with an interesting concept album to boot. As a longtime fan of Feast of the Blood Monsters
, I can only hope for an eventual scenegrind revival to have a chance of ever hearing another album like this.