Superior Massacre

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As evident by Myrkskog's new, pointy-lettered, nigh-unreadable logo on the cover of Superior Massacre, the Norwegian band's second full-length is a regression of sorts from the steely, solid black/death of its predecessor, Deathmachine. In fact, Superior Massacre is, more than anything else, a throwback to early '90s American death metal (think Morbid Angel or Suffocation), right down to the cheesy noise intro track, serpentine riffing, and overwrought "art" on the album cover. Myrkskog does its job well -- that is, multiple tempo changes, blasting speed, and razorblade-gargle vocals -- and, like Deathmachine, the songs are convincing, although the sophomoric subject matter (see "Over the Gore," "Blood Ejaculation," and "Bleeding Wrists") is a creative step backward, a notch closer to brain-dead gore metal. Also, main songwriter and guitarist Destructhor -- who is a consummate six-stringer in extreme metal circles -- has taken over vocal duties, and unfortunately possesses a one-dimensional growl that doesn't lend much definition to the songs. Clocking in at a concise 31 minutes, the album is most likely taking a stab at following up Reign in Blood (something to which many blood-puking death acts aspire), but it's not even another Deathmachine, which was a decent if not overwhelmingly original record. When all is said and done, Superior Massacre is too much riff salad and blast-o-rama, not enough songcraft -- and a disappointment.

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