First let’s review the meaning of the word ‘macabre’, which means ‘having the quality or having a grim or ghastly atmosphere’. It also emphasizes and symbolizes the details of death.
Importantly, it may not mean that one condones the act of murder or violence.
For exactly 35 years, this Chicago, Illinois thrash/death metal trio has been performing some of the most gruesome, ghoulish music out there in the industry today.
And although they have pushed away a large majority of metal fans with their lyrics and subject matter, they do have a cult following.
Macabre writes about serial killers, and their material is historically accurate. Some of the killers this ‘murder music’ band sings about are Gacy, Bundy, and the Italian serial killer, Leonarda Cianciulli, who murdered three women and then turned their bodies into soap and tea cakes.
Macabre has been known to write a full album dedicated to one serial killer, yet each of these 16 songs are different. Lance Lencioni aka Corporate Death says, “Carnival of Killers is all about variety.”
The sound is a cross between Skate Punk and The Beasties Boys on speed. The vocals are a tri-layered blend of clear vocals, metal screaches, and Eddie Munster-style tones.
The band utilizes nursery rhymes into their melodies, intricate guitar work, and killer drumline ripper sections. Dennis Ritchie aka Dennis the Menace’s foot and hand combos are arguably some of the best snare playing, and he is said to have some of the fastest feet around.
No wonder he kicks ass. I’ll go so far as to say that Carnival of Killers is a drum-driven album with other instrumentals as ancillary, That bludgeoning sound on bass is Corporate Death himself.
The vocal variation by Charles Lescewicz aka Nefarious along with Corporate Death is outrageous. One other artist that makes great use of this vocal layering technique is Dave Grohl on The Pretender.
Just listening to the vocal laminas or coatings on this album is a real treat. They’ve mastered this strategy that is reminiscent of 60’s barbershop quartets, and this would obviously be the ‘grindcore’ version.
Interestly, there are a few 35 second and 50 second instrumental breaks in between a few of the songs, which brilliantly breaks up any of the tedious repetition and routine making the album non-monotonous.
Yet they are each short enough to keep your interest. After hearing the short intro of traditional carnival music, the normal reaction would be, “WTF?” And then you’re in for a rude awakening once Your Window Is Open begins. The drum work, bombastic! Wow! And guitar work: Fantastic! The vocals, spastic!
A few other noteable songs on Carnival of Killers are: Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts, which is the most metal out of all the songs on the album and The Murder Mack, that is enticing for joining the mosh pit even during these COVID times.
All in all this album is haphazardly dastardly murderous music at its finest and certainly entertaining.
MACABRE ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN: CORPORATE DEATH | Lead Vocals & Guitar DENNIS THE MENACE | Drums NEFARIOUS | Bass & Vocals ORDER // LISTEN TO ‘CARNIVAL OF KILLERS’ Nuclear Blast: http://www.nuclearblast.com/macabre-c… DSP: http://nblast.de/MacabreCarnival ENTIRE MACABRE CATALOGUE: https://geni.us/MacabreCatalogue FOLLOW MACABRE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OFFICIALMACABRE Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/macabremetal Official Website: http://www.murdermetal.com
Review by Jordonna Lobese for MPM