Macabre

Sinister Slaughter/Behind the Walls of Sleep

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Macabre quickly increased its cult following with Sinister Slaughter by bringing an element of thematic engagement to otherwise above-average death metal. This entertaining source of engagement comes via the song titles and the accompanying lyrics; much along the lines of Cannibal Corpse, Pungent Stench, and Anal Cunt, Macabre writes genuinely perverse songs about the sort of taboo subject matter that is appalling yet undoubtedly intriguing. In the case of this album, the Chicago trio bases each of its songs on a different psychopath; for example, the opening track, "Night Stalker," is based on Richard Ramirez, just as the next track, "The Ted Bundy Show," is based on Ted Bundy. Sure, this is a juvenile concept, but when as seemingly tongue-in-cheek and as well-executed as this, it becomes a unique and quite charismatic attribute that helps to differentiate this album from the glut of other death metal releases churned out by globally reaching independent death metal labels in the mid-'90s. (The album cover's satirical take on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, picturing each of the psychos, only helps.) So even if the music isn't necessarily as timeless or influential as something like Entombed's Left Hand Path or Napalm Death's Scum, and even if Macabre isn't as downright serious as a group like Morbid Angel or Deicide, in the end, this album has become somewhat of a cult classic, right alongside other perverse classics like Cannibal Corpse's Tomb of the Mutilated and Brujeria's Matando Gueros. Furthermore, this re-released version of Sinister Slaughter features Macabre's four-song Behind the Wall of Sleep EP, which includes the group's cover of the Black Sabbath classic of the same name; this added bonus is appreciated in terms of value, although it does slightly detract from the album's original concept.

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