Macabre- 20th Anniversary of Sinister Slaughter Mini Tour

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It has been twenty years since the legendary grindcore/murder metal, Chicago outfit, Macabre released their famed album, Sinister Slaughter, and the band decided to embark on a celebratory mini tour in its honor. Even though Macabre only played four shows on their tour, they still played Cleveland. They always play Cleveland. I am very lucky to live in a city so sublimely metal, a city where dark, graffiti ridden clubs mark every street corner and black clad drunkards and musicians are the daytime norm.

It was a “Sinister Sunday” indeed, when Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious invaded “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll”, for a very special, exclusive performance with local bands, Merciless Reign, Benighten Empire and Punching Moses. The crowd prepared for an evening of drinking, debauchery and mayhem.

The first band to hit the stage was Merciless Reign. I didn’t really know what to expect from this new Death/Thrash act. These guys were friends of mine, however, so I stood center stage, awaiting my first listen. What a surprise! What stood out about this band, was the sheer power emanating in their sound. Merciless Reign has a sound that requires none of the fancy, technical frills that have become so popular nowadays, with the influx of tech death on the rise. No sir, Merciless Reign has a presence and an intensity that will tear your fucking face off and they deliver this ambiance with simple, aggressive, thrash-y riffs, a bit of blackened repetition, blistering leads and paralyzing blast beats. Tracks like 17 Years of Hatred (Unleashed) are an epic and driving force to be reckoned with when played live. The energy that Merciless Reign achieves in their live performances is not quite met in their studio recordings, however. That is not to say that their demo is no good. It is very well done. But Merciless Reign bludgeons the hell out of a crowd live. I think this is because of the intensity that their drummer, Chris Krucker, packs into his live performances. He’s a wild man up there. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band, both live and in the studio.

The next band up was Cleveland’s own Benighten Empire. Formed from the ashes of local deathcore outfit Evisceration and early Benighten Empire, which was formerly a Viking metal band, the current sound of the band is interesting, for lack of a better word. With the look of a deathcore band, the stage antics of a flashy, black metal band, the belligerent audience interactions of a thrash metal band, and a mix of everything from “core”, to the clean chanting of Viking metal, to the epic onslaught of black metal in their sound, Benighten Empire is utterly confused. I really wasn’t exactly sure what they were trying to accomplish onstage. It wasn’t as though they played badly, I simply wasn’t sure what they were playing or what they were doing with those upside crosses. It looked more like Justin Beiber participating in a black mass than Mayhem. Confusing, indeed. My friends and I have dubbed the band “Vikingcore”. However, Benighten Empire is not innovative enough to coin a new genre, their sound is simply immature. Given a few years, this band may hone their sound. They are still relatively new, forming only five years ago in 2008. Until then, I’d say, pass on this band.

Next up was hardcore punk act, Punching Moses. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this band other than that they felt a little out of place up there. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when hardcore bands open for metal bands. Stick to your genre and go play at the Spitfire. The Foundry is for metal. Not only that, but their sound quality onstage wasn’t great and the feel of the band was very common. There was really nothing special going on onstage with Punching Moses. If you’re going to call yourself punk rock, be punk rock and spit on the fucking audience or something. Upon further research, I found this band was voted “Most Un-listenable” by The Cleveland Scene. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this band un-listenable, boring is a better way to describe them. Listen for yourself.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived. Macabre was set to hit the stage. Being perfectionists, Macabre took quite some time to set up. They were well worth the wait, however. Macabre certainly did celebrate Sinister Slaughter, playing songs they haven’t played in years, like Ted Bundy song, Mary Bell, Montreal Massacre and Night Stalker. As usual, vocalist Corporate Death prefaced each song with an eerie description of a serial killer’s horrific antics and exuded a larger than life stage presence. The sound quality was great and the songs were played to grindcore perfection. The audience was pumped, singing along to the songs and moshing like crazy. And even though Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious may have a larger than life presence onstage, they are incredibly down to earth guys off stage, interacting with fans, signing occasional autographs and watching the opening bands play. My high expectations of the evening were more than met, when Macabre finally hit the stage. If you missed them this time around, never fear. Macabre will be playing again in December for the Holiday of Horrors show with Cardiac Arrest, Witchbanger and Elbow Deep. Catch them in Chicago at Reggie’s Rock Club on 12/26/2013. Happy Listening. Hails!

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5 thoughts on “Macabre- 20th Anniversary of Sinister Slaughter Mini Tour”

  1. I did not write that, just thought it was interesting, so I posted it. I should have clarified that, my mistake. Punching Moses is told by metal people they are punk and told by punkers they are metal all the time. So personally I’m used to it, It’s quite humorous.

    I have to agree with the review though, that I personally like the shows with a mix of bands. Hearing the same style music all night is very fatiguing on me ears. To each their own tho. The Foundry has rock, hip-hop, metal, punk, and who knows what else all the time just so you know. One of my pals is a bartender there quite often so I hear about it from time to time. No worries on my end. I enjoy all types of music and am very proud of that. Check out the Hullet for Metal. Strangely enough, P.M. is on one of those shows this month.

    Cheers.

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  2. Last night I was made aware of this negative review of Punching Moses and I tend to like checking those out for some odd reason? Our tag line on our FB page was taken from a bad review and I kinda feed on that stuff, but in this review I took something out of it that has nothing to do with our performance but more to do with the music scene in general around here. So here is my review (or reply) of a review.

    I actually agree that we had a rather lackluster performance that night and even while it was happing I was thinking…”this is not going well”. I think that being a Sunday after abusing my liver and sleep cycle that weekend may have something to do with it or maybe I just had a bad night, but I do know if I’m not feeling it I don’t know how an audience is supposed to get into it either? I really wanted to be on the bill with the legendary MACABRE because I love metal and all it has to offer and we fought to keep the co-headline spot on that show and I personally blew it…eh it happens. So that being said off to my issue.

    The big bitch about us besides being “boring” was the fact that we were out of our element and had no business being on a “metal” show and should stick to playing the Spitfire Saloon. This to me is a big problem with our scene and music “fans” in general. I remember one of the best things about shows when I grew up was I could see LEK, Ringworm, Decrepit, Hyper As Hell, Numbskull, Domestic Crisis, The TKO’s, Hemdale and Face Value (among just a few) all sharing members and show bills together. Sure we still had “genre” but less people seemed to care about that? We were all part of the “freaks” and hung out together and I personally don’t like the way shows are set up now. Four or five hours of gut metal growls or people punching and kicking each other at hardcore shows where all the bands sound similar is… well…boring.

    Fuck your genre! Go out and support local music or art in any form! I understand there is some line somewhere even I may have. Like I may not open for some pop act like The Black Keys (not that I would not go to the show but it may actually be odd if Embalmer opened for them? I’m sorry but Macabre and Punching Moses are not Embalmer and The Black Keys) but all the genres mentioned in this rant are so similar and small I don’t know why we would want fracture them? Remember the Roll-N-Bowl and how many people would go to those shows? These were those people “the freaks, faggots, drunks, and junkies” that made our scene worth while for a club to have a show, deal with us, and for a fan to love it. Now if you don’t have 10 bands of the same genre on a show to get the few people that they each draw (because nobody wants to see the other band because I’m a music snob) a club is not interested, and because we’re giving opinions here…I hate those shows. Instead of going to the whole show you just find out when your friends band is playing and then even I am guilty of not supporting the other bands, or even worse missing out on some really good band I’ve never heard before, like The Bloody Hollies or Meatjack!

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    1. Hey man, don’t get so offended. People enjoy reading critical reviews. I was simply giving my opinion. You know, opinions are like assholes, yada yada yada. You don’t have to like it. I think that if you want to impress a heavy metal crowd, you’re going to have to work on your theatrics. Otherwise, many people in the crowd simply won’t care. Metal is an elitist scene. That’s just reality, whether or not you like it. That said, bad press is better than no press. As an artist, you will be continually critiqued. Art is subjective. At least you were noticed.

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    1. The Foundry is cool. It’s small, dark and covered i graffiti. The acoustics aren’t great but it’s a great place to party. 🙂

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