By Gruesome Greg
Though I’m not a big death metal guy, I must admit that I love Macabre. Between the high-pitched, screeching vocals of Corporate Death and the extensive back catalogue of songs about real-life mass murderers and serial killers, they’re more than a guilty pleasure for me. I’ve bought a few biographies of serial killers cuz I really liked a song about them on Sinister Slaughter—and once had to explain to a college professor why I was wearing Albert Fish’s mug on my T-shirt. (“Mr. Albert Fish—Was Children Your Favourite Dish!?”) Considering that they’re only good for a new album every five years or so, I had pretty high hopes for this one.
Their last release, Murder Metal, saw Macabre move away from their early punk/grind roots for a more straight-ahead death metal sound. Still a decent record, but not in the same league as Dahmer or Sinister Slaughter in my books. Grim Scary Tales is more of a mixed bag, offering some straight up blasters, semi-technical death (these guys are underrated musicians, IMO), “true metal” ballads, chicken-pickin’, poetry and those demented carnival sing-songs that the band likes to dabble in. Thematically, it’s a concept album about historical murderers. Whereas their previous work dealt with Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and the Nightstalker, here we have tunes named after Dracula, Lizzie Borden, a demented take on “The Big Bad Wolf” and a competent cover of Venom’s campy classic “Countess Bathory”.
Third track “The Black Knight” is another one of those catchy, I-can’t-believe-I’m-singing-along-with-this songs that Macabre does so well. A driving, punky chorus alternates with slower tempos and clean, monotone singing. “Dracula” is old-school Macabre, blast-beats and guitar-synth-a-plenty. It’s also the first time on the album that Corporate Death unleashes his trademark wail—a whole four songs in! As previously mentioned, “The Big Bad Wolf” is awesome. I know I’d buy an album of Macabre singing children’s campfire songs—oh wait, they’ve already done that…
Anyways, if you’re one of those weirdos like me who worship Macabre, you’ll want this one. Although the production is a lot better and the sound slightly more modern, there are enough shades of Sinister Slaughter on Grim Scary Tales that oughtta make solid additions to their live set next time they’re in our vicinity. (I’m already looking forward to it!)