Thee Massacre, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, are a horror metal band, a mix of death and black metal. Formed in 2013, the band has had some excellent support slots despite not being together for very long; they’ve opened for the likes of Behemoth, Goatwhore, and 1340, with more big-name supports coming up in the near future.
Their debut EP, Horror, is a very interesting listen, particularly when it comes to how they’ve mixed the genres of death and black metal. Surprisingly, the songs are short in comparison to others of the genre, each clocking it at around thee three minute mark.
Horror opens with “Retribution”, a short spoken intro track that gives you the feeling you are being led into a twisted world of a killer as it is a monologue of murder.
The next track, “Drenched in Blood and Sweat”, establishes what Thee Massacre is all about. The song opens with a driving riff and drums, with Jeffrey Kornfeld on keyboard, adding an atmospheric sound overtop of the other instruments, which I think works well here. There are times throughout the album, however, where I am not sure about how the keyboard is used. There is a section toward the end of “Skin Suit” where there is a call and response between the guitars and keyboards. I’m not entirely convinced I’m a fan of it here, but, with that said, the keys do seem to work within the songs most of the time.
Interestingly, there is a mix of powerful riffs that very much switch between death and black metal influences seamlessly. D.J. Gunnarson shows some great skills on the strings in the way his riffs are put together. “Skin Suit” is a great example of this.
The vocals span from mid to low range, and there is a high end scream utilized for which black metal is very well known. I like the way this is used, particularly on “Bloodshed and Torture” as the two styles manage to compliment each other very well.
The fourth track, “The Location of the Severed Head”, is a spoken word piece that clocks in at only 28 seconds. I found it to be mildly funny in a weird way as it is about what the title suggests. There are slight moments of fun in the pounding and gore and horror. Listen out for the end of “Skin Suit” for another giggle as well.
Overall, Horror is a good EP. It’s a showing of a band that I think I could listen to every now and again. I think everything works most of the time, and everyone loves a band that gives you a few moments of humour in the mostly serious of songs. Despite all of this, I’m not convinced it works all the time, particularly when it comes to the keyboard, which I mentioned above. It feels little shoehorned in at times. However, this is still their first recording and it is a good start for the band who are only in their second year and seemingly going very strong.
Written by Paul Foxon