Sunday, November 15, 2009
What happened to MASSACRE?
Question: I SUPPOSE YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED BEFORE BUT I'LL TRY..
I LOVE MASSACRE AND "FROM BEYOND" IS STILL TO ME ON TOP 5 AMERICAN DEATH METAL ALBUMS EVER.
WHY EARACHE DENIED TO RELEASE "FROM BEYOND"'S FOLLOW UP?THE RECORD IS TOP CLASS.LOW SALES MAYBE?BAD COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND THE BAND?
THANKS AND KEEP IT EXTREME From: DOOM44@IN.GR
Answer: We did release the follow-up, 1994's album was entitled 'Promise' (see pic). Massacre was indeed one of the top USA death metal bands.When Florida Death metal was at the early demo tape stage, MASSACRE's demo was as popular as DEATH and MORBID ANGEL demo's, but they suffered from line-up problems,and bad luck, as DEATH would later get signed and recruit 3/4 of their members for their second album.
Kam Lee and Rick Rozz were 2/3rds of the original and groundbreaking DEATH, led by Chuck Schuldiner. Kam was on drums and sang, he even drew the famous Death logo- the original with the spiders web etc I mean. Massacre formed after Chuck threw Kam and Rick out of Death, but by an ironic twist Massacre folded a few years later as 3/4 of the band- Rick Rozz, Bill Andrews and Terry Butler- were re-recruited in 1988 by Chuck Schuldiner to play with him on the DEATH album Leprosy.You have to realise that all the local Florida bands had fluid line ups, nothing seemed solid because only DEATH had a record deal at that 87-88 point in time, the eyes of the global death metal hordes were not yet on Florida so musicans would rotate regularly, nothing much was a stake.
Ex- growler Kam Lee spent a few years in the wilderness as the Death Metal scene he helped create blew up almost overnight.It must have bugged him that he was ignored while his ex-band mates and even ex-fans (who had gone on to form bands like Obituary, Deicide) were touring and playing Death metal and getting signed. Kam became the forgotten man of early DM.
Earache is the reason that Massacre even got together to record, it was only through my perseverance and persistance that 'From Beyond' even got recorded and released. When I approached them to sign them up to record the album of the demo tape faves that history compelled them to make -and if there was any justice, really should have been recorded years beforehand -I soon found out the reason why it had never been done up til then.
The ex- members of Massacre were pretty dysfunctional to be honest.They had become estranged from each other, and to make matters worse,mainman and singer Kam had moved far away from Tampa, living a sort of nomadic life in the north of the state.
Even though he was only about 100 miles away from Tampa, still residing in Florida, this was before email or cellphones existed, so he was effectively out of the DM loop.Kam drifted in and out of the scene for many years,I think he had other options in life -jobs, relationships- so he himself chose when and how to resume his DM scene activities.He still does this - every few years Kam will announce he is coming back into the scene with a new band, whenever it suits him, which is his prerogative of course.He is a legend so he can do what he likes. Kam is the one who invented the death-growl, Napalm Death's Barney Greenway simply copied Kam's vocal style.
In 1990 Earache provided the means for Massacre to record their debut- producer Colin Richardson flew to Tampa to record them in Morrisound studios,and after a lot of headaches, the album From Beyond finally saw the light of day in July 1991, about 3 years after it should have been released.It was not an easy recording session as the band was in total disarray, I even resorted to bribery and all sorts of tactics to persuade Rick and Kam to get in and do it.On the flipside Bill and Terry acted like seasoned professionals and were a dream to work with.
On its release it sold OK but nothing like the other DM Florida bands who had stolen Massacre's thunder in the intervening years. To be frank, From Beyond was seen as a historical artefact even on release- zillions of other bands all over the world had already taken the Death metal prototype and many were well on the way to forging lucrative careers by 1991.Massacre folded again soon after a UK/EU tour to promote From Beyond,proving it was a seriously fragile band once again.
After a few more years in the wilderness,in 1994 Massacre recorded the follow up album - entitled Promise. Promise was pretty shocking as the band decided to ditch the DM style and embrace a more Pantera-esque heavy groove metal style but with a horror-ghoul theme as this was the metal style that was getting popular at the time.Its not a bad album,but its not what the Massacre fans were expecting, so they shunned it completely.
Massacre folded once again after that,Kam sang on Promise but soon bolted from the scene again. Rick recuited a replacement singer and tried to carry on but the band was in terminal decline and they soon split up once more- seemingly for the final time.
It just occurred to me that Massacre's story is totally similar to Repulsions history.Repulsion (as Genocide) were playing speedy death metal up in Flint, Michigan making a demo which subsequently became popular with the grindcore freaks, but at the the time garnered little interest outside their local area.Death mainman Chuck Schuldiner saw their potential for his band though, and after kicking out Kam and Rick, promptly invited Genocide's Scott Carlson and Matt Olivo to Florida to join him in DEATH.This line up did not last long,and never recorded, so Scott and Matt returned to Michigan, re-naming their band REPULSION.The similarity is that both bands were pretty much derailed for a year or two, by Chuck recruiting their key members.
The further similarity is that Earache resurrected and finally released (via Bill and Jeff Carcass' short lived NECROSIS imprint) REPULSION's debut album about 3 years after it was recorded and due for release by local label Wyatt Earp records.This was I believe the bands own label, financed by a local friend, but the album had been shelved due to lack of finances.
The resulting album - 1989's Horrified was, much like Massacre, received as an historical artefact by fans, and got a lukewarm reception.Old(er) bands are seen as being different to active, current, gigging bands, shops deemed it to be back catalogue, on its release.
Horrified cemented the bands place in the grindcore/death metal history books which would hit the bookshelves about 2 decades later, and that was pretty much our sole aim in releasing it.Relapse later picked up the re-united band for a 7inch, and redid the Horrified album aswell with demos added.
Looking back through the prism of history, its obvious that both Massacre and Repulsion's widely circulated demo tapes were instrumental in influencing the style of the coming grindcore/death metal wave of bands which flooded the global scene a few years later.Earache as a label owes them a great debt of gratitude-so, cheers to them!
Heres Massacre in 1991 during UK tour playing song: Biohazard
Heres the rather unfortunate look they adopted to promote 1994's Promise- Rick is to the right of pic.It seems even Death Metal legends can have a bad wardrobe day.
Bringing us up to date, heres Rick Rozz's new band M INC with song Bonedust (2009)
BoneDust by digearache