From Beyond reviews
12disneyhater on September 25th, 2015
More than just a bunch of rejects
Massacre are seen by some in the death metal underground as a bunch of rejects from Death, and their first record "From Beyond" is sometimes considered a watered-down "Leprosy". Whether that's true or not is up for debate, but one thing's for certain; it kicks ass. Major ass. It's pure OSDM at some of its finest, and in my opinion is far superior to all the albums that Death themselves did before "Human". Sure, it's not very original and wasn't anywhere near as groundbreaking as anything Death did, but it's still a great listen.
Death metal originator Kam Lee, one of the finest death metal musicians out there (in my top 5 easily), makes his debut performance on a full-length album on "From Beyond", many years after he performed on Death's original demos as Mantas. To say the least, he makes his presence felt. His distinct grunt is at its dirtiest and most raw here, and he doesn't waste any time at all dominating each song. While the guy may be a grade-A dick, there's no denying his influence and skill, though he doesn't usually get the credit he deserves for it. Anybody wondering what Death would have sounded like had Kam stayed in the band need look no further than not only this, but everything that he's ever done.
The guitar work is absolutely superb. Admittedly, the riffs aren't very complex, but they're interesting enough and have enough variety that it doesn't get tiring listening to them. They are ear-catching and, to say the least, are BIG. The guitar tone is fantastically mixed for the time and every note is delivered with the subtlety of a bulldozer. In other words, no subtlety at all. Regarding the songwriting, it's a definite step above other early 1990s death metal albums such as Deicide's self-titled, all of which unfortunately get far more recognition. The songs are structurally varied, but at the same time don't feel awkward in their transitions, making them highly enjoyable.
Like most OSDM, it's nothing that most people haven't heard before, which isn't really a problem since it's done so well, but it can leave some people wanting a lot more, especially since Massacre were a very short-lived band. Sadly, their second album was so bad that most people pretend it doesn't exist, and their third and final record was a pretty disappointing comeback, though markedly an improvement over "Promise" (you can see me tear that piece of shit apart in my review).
Another sad thing is that Kam Lee basically left death metal after this album, and (assuming "Promise" doesn't count) it would be a whopping 16 (!) years before we would hear him again. But the great news is that he came back with a SLEW of new bands to make up for the time he lost, releasing a whopping 7 more records with his vocal work as of 2015, and two of those 7 came out this year alone. So in other words, Kam is wasting no time finally making his musical visions come to life. It's a crying shame how overlooked his music is, because he truly is a death metal mastermind.
Overall, "From Beyond" is a great record from start to finish. If you like OSDM and haven't tried it yet, I would definitely give it a recommendation. It's a great start for Kam Lee, and he would only get better on succeeding releases, even if they would take years and years to emerge.
hells_unicorn on July 17th, 2013
Just a tad too late for the Florida Big 4.
Massacre generally gets a bad wrap as a sort of weak Death knock-off, largely due to the presence of exclusively ex-Death members on the roster of their 1991 debut "From Beyond". While it's a bit curious that similarly dismissive reactions did not hit Autopsy during their early works, it is perhaps understandable given a similar sense of imagery and a sound that is a bit closer to the formative death metal offerings "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy". Nevertheless, it is also important to consider that the early demos both under the Mantas and Death monikers represent a rung in the ladder just above that of Possessed and Slayer on the way to where the Florida scene eventually ended up, and each of the members of this outfit played a part in some capacity alongside Chuck Schuldiner in making it all happen.
At the end of the day, what ultimately matters is the finished product and how well it stands on its own, regardless to whether or not it sets any standards in the overall progression of a given scene, and on this note Massacre definitely comes off quite strong. With a rock-solid production that emphasizes bone-crushing guitars, thick yet basic bass work and a gloriously crisp and thunderous drum sound, "From Beyond" stands as a slightly cleaner and less technical answer to "Leprosy". It's not a complete clone, as Kam Lee's vocal assault is more along the lines of the deeper, nastier character of Chris Barnes with some subtle hints of Schuldiner's high-pitched shrieks here and there. But from a musical perspective, this is an album that still identifies as being about as much of a death/thrash album as what was the norm between 1987 and 1989.
It's sort of a tricky business in full categorizing this album as an overt late 80s death metal album that was released just a couple years too late to keep pace with how the style was progressing. While much of the songwriting tends to dwell on the Slayer-pioneered dissonant tremolo riffing style meshed with some leftovers from the Exodus brand of the Bay Area thrash approach that was still being employed to an extent on Sepultura's "Arise", there is an atmospheric aesthetic that mirrors the otherworldly/interstellar character of contemporary works out of Nocturnus and Darkthrone, namely occasional keyboard usage. Particularly in the lead up to the opening slaughter fest "Dawn Of Eternity" and the mystical "Chamber Of Ages" there is an almost symphonic character to what eventual leads into conventional death metal, one that wouldn't be out of place on a number of black metal albums that would crop up a few years later.
Even the more extraneous elements of this album are clear in where they are coming from, yet not to the point of being worthy of pigeonholing as being a clone of one or even two respective acts at this juncture. The guitar soloing method itself seems to be just a little too whammy bar happy even by Kerry King standards and sort of dwells in its own little crazy niche, never quite sounding like an overt Trey Azagthoth or Chuck Schuldiner emulation, yet resembling both. The title song "From Beyond" is perhaps the greatest illustration of how one could almost say this band is just combining Death with hints of Cannibal Corpse, but then that keyboard chimes in for a little bit and the whole thing takes a mystical turn that is a bit unique even next to the most occult-oriented of the early death/thrash efforts of the mid 80s, not to mention that the guttural ravings of Kam Lee just manage to stay nestled somewhere between Glen Benton and Chris Barnes without quite becoming one or the other.
Long story short, this is a good album, and one that has been wrongly dismissed based on a rather odd concept of genre saturation that shouldn't deter the committed early death metal fanatic who wants a slightly different twist on what was brewing in Florida when the 2nd tier began to take shape and the founding fathers really began to step up their game. Massacre could definitely be qualified as 2nd tier, but that doesn't mean they are less worthy of attention. Similarly, for a rather interesting auditory treat, check out the crazy mess of guitar noise followed by a song in "Corpse Grinder" that originally appeared on one of the early Death demos. The distance between it and the rest of the material on here definitely shows a level of separation from the band's Death days and growth of sound that, while gradual, is definitely undeniable. But regardless, this album deserves more attention primarily because it's just plain old solid death metal with a few interesting twists, so track it down before the bizarre vortex creatures track you down.
Light13 on September 16th, 2011
A Poor Man's Leprosy
After hearing a lot of good about this album from numerous different sites, friends, etc, I decided to check this out album out. After not having been bothered about this, I never payed much attention to it. Finally after hearing so much talk I decided to give it one last try. Needless to say, that has still not changed my opinion of this highly overrated and boring album.
The album is essentially headed by Death rejects Kam Lee and Rick Rozz and I think that adds to this over-hyped album. "Have you heard Kam Lee and Rick Rozz's band Massacre they formed after they got kicked out of/left Death? The first album, From Beyond, is brutal!!!!" No. This sounds like a poor man's Leprosy mixed with whiffle ball thrash. Some of the riffs...I can honestly say Anthrax is heavier. The guitar tone is weak and thin and doesn't hold any bite or power. The songs are so randomly structured with no real musical sense to the arrangements. "Have this riff here, then follow up with this riff...yeah man that is such a smooth transaction!". The drum sound is flat and the beats are very boring, plain, and standard. There are no real thrills here, just boring cookie cutter riffs.
The album really does just feel like a poor man's Leprosy and they even go as far to kind of rip on one of the riffs in their former band, Death. In "Symbolic Immortality", the first half of that song just sounds like riffs that were not good enough for Leprosy. There are some decent riffs worth a bit of a headbang on the album, but not enough of them and the songs are arranged poorly. The riff at 0:46 seconds of the title track is a great thrashy death riff that would be lethal in a live environment, but the riff just doesn't go on long enough! Again, the riffs in "Cryptic Realms" are also pretty decent, especially the one at 0:38 of the song, however the riff at 1:17 is a clear rip off of the one in "Born Dead" of Death's Leprosy record. That's it, that's literally where the two highlights from this record come from.
To conclude this album is just total...meh. Average, unexciting and boring. AVOID.
autothrall on April 7th, 2011
Stops in for lunch, then back to beyond
If the line-up for this album reads like an early Death V.I.P. party, that's because it was. Bill Andrews, Kam Lee, Terry Butler and Rick Rozz all had a stake in Chuck Schuldiner's beautiful beast throughout its formative years, though Massacre was also around for a roughly equal period, once home court to Obituary's Allen West. For Andrews, Butler and Rozz, the time in Death involved some touring and studio appearances on the first three, and best albums. For Lee, the connection was somewhat more distant, but undeniable: he had contributed some drums and vocals to the earlier Death demos, and like Rick, was an alumni of its precursor Mantas. So, it is not a stretch to assume that From Beyond, snapped up during the Florida feeding frenzy at the dawn of the 90s, is going to sound a whole like that alma mater.
To Massacre's credit, they never seemed to be a complete or directly obvious knockoff. There's a sizable influence here from prototypical death/black/thrash act Celtic Frost, and the vocals seem to have a more direct correlation with Chris Barnes' grunting or Glen Benton's manic snips and snarls. There are certainly some similar riffs to what you'd find on Scream Bloody Gore or Leprosy (for example, "Cryptic Realms" seems to channel a bit of "Born Dead"), and they've even included a version of "Corpse Grinder", so it's not as if they're hiding their appreciation for their previous work. In fact, you might say that Massacre was a continuation of the values that Death had begun to abandon with Human: grisly, morbid old death metal with the inspiration of horror in the lyrics rather than the social and scientific relevance Chuck had begun to flirt with on Spiritual Healing. Unfortunately, while its a passable effort, From Beyond has a little too much of a 'me too' vibe underpinning it in general, and one wonders if the band would have ever secured a deal for itself without its associations.
Once your eyes have peeled away from the terror of its pink vortex of clouds and corny looking Creature Feature abominations, the album greets you with a promising atmosphere of doomed chords and synthesizers reminiscent of Helloween's "Halloween" intro, steadily escalating into a warlike momentum over which the Deicide styled vocals explode. Lee likes to add grunts and growls over the ensuing sear of Rozz's guitar lines, which at admittedly a bit silly, only because they're not used consistently enough to create a concussion of their own. Unfortunately, while as authentic as your going to hear for early Florida death, the track never establishes itself with a decent, memorable guitar hook. This is a problem that the band repeats numerous times across the eight originals: "Symbolic Immortality", "Succubus", and "Biohazard" are all frustrating in that they deliver the energy of well conditioned thrash and death but never hook you (the first channeling "Disposable Heroes" in the later bridge, the last sounding like a mix of Pestilence with Death breakdowns).
There are, however, a few more atmospheric pieces on this record that in my opinion are more entertain to digest than their environs. "Chambers of Ages" begins with a solemn, morbid synth intro that buries you in the architecture before it merges into the death/thrash zone, and the title track has a pretty mesmerizing, cosmic breakdown where the choir synth hovers off against a slower rhythm. Coincidentally, both of these also have some of the better straight death riffs on the entire album, not unlike stuff you'd hear on Napalm Death's Harmony Corruption, and I'd gladly name them my favorites. However, they're offset by the remainder, and there are some relative stinkers here like the thrashing "Defeat Remains" with its boring Exodus bludgeon. The cover of the Death demo track "Corpse Grinder" is a cool idea; sufficient enough in the hands of this quartet as it might have been with Schuldiner involved, yet it follows a predictable, uninteresting notation. It's more than obvious why it never made it to a Death full-length as it stood.
Sooner or later, when you've got enough people stacked on your raft, you're going have to choose between sinking or knocking off some of the other sailors on the sea of fate. Massacre was such an elimination, never really amounting to much despite their potential visibility through the burgeoning British label and their relationship to Death, and easily fed off to the starving sharks. From Beyond is by no means a shitty debut album. It was tight on execution, featured a lineup who obviously loved what they were doing and had some credentials too boot, and sported a clean as a whistle Colin Richardson production. But it'd be one of the last players picked in a theoretical team volleyball match of Floridian brutality, because it's simply not that intriguing, not that catchy, and offers no new maneuvers that haven't been done better by the rest of the squad. Compared to the sophomore full-length (Promise) though, it's a work of art.
The_Scrab on April 2nd, 2010
Brilliant, Engaging, Frightening, Essential.
If this album had been released a few years earlier, Massacre would have been granted the true level of fame, respect, and notoriety that they rightfully deserved. Made up of some of Death Metal's scrappiest, most primal originators, it is a damn shame that Massacre are not better respected and adored by today's general death metal public. Blame it on bad album timing, lack of promotion, or their universally reviled sophomore effort, but the bottom line is, Massacre were one of the fastest, most brutal, and most original death metal bands ever to unleash themselves on the Death Metal underground.
One only needs to take one look at the line up of this juggernaut of a band to understand the greatness of it's achievements. Four out of four (excluding uncredited second guitarist, or something) members of this band had played in some incarnation of the legendary Death, and two of them were founding members of the Pre-Death band Mantas. Kam Lee is considered by many to be the primal originator of the modern Death Grunt, drawing influence from Tom G. Warrior's primal vocal grunting and subsequently influencing a legion of Growlers such as Napalm Death's Barney Greenway. His grunts are primal, his laughter maniacal, and the first time I heard his high shriek, I thought that the neighborhood cat had fallen into a cement mixer. His vocals and lyrics on this recording are the archetype of all death metal. Those deriding his voice as generic and sub standard by the standards of 1991 only need to do a little historical digging to uncover his true influence and prowess (and maybe actually listen to the album?)
Rick Rozz is the subject of much criticism due to his sloppy, repetitive solo style. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a big fan of the "Scorch and Shriek" guitar style pioneered by bands like Slayer, and aped by Rozz here, but the solos here are a very small part of the music, and they don't even jar as much as people are led to believe. The real contribution here by Rozz is his lightening fast riffing patterns. While not technical or necessarily super innovative, they fill the songs with a consistent, frantic business that get's the neck moving. His rhythm's are super precise and sharp, and his guitar tone is heavy and fuzzy, providing an ultra heavy backdrop for already heavy tracks.
The bass and drumming is as frantic as the guitar and the vocals, but probably less noticeable. The bass is audible, but not overpowering, and plays either riffs closely related to the guitars or melodic runs that serve as a counterpoint underneath the music. The drumming is speedy Death/Thrash faire, not being too technical or busy, but being powerful and bombastic.
The production on this disc is damn near perfect, everything can be heard really well, everything sounds like it was recorded in a really great, clear, professional environment. It provides a perfect platform for some really cracking songs. Everything on this disc is frantic burst of essential death metal, but songs that are especially outstanding include "Dawn of Eternity", "Chamber of Ages", "Succubus", "Symbolic Immortality", and the Death cover (which is just as much a Massacre song, really) "Corpsegrinder". All of these songs are perfect examples of how vital and energetic the Florida Death Metal scene really was in this time period.
There you go, there's no unanimous opinion on this disc, far from it. But the fact that there's so many different opinions on it just further cements it as the genre classic that it is. Pounding riffs, rumbling bass, frantic drumming, and frankly inhuman vocals all combine with great songs and production to create one of the few truly essential death metal albums. The mark of this band has been left on every single death metal band that has followed, whether they know it or not. That's the simple truth, this album is too important to be discarded.
Scotar on July 31st, 2009
So bad, it's good (sorta)
Ever seen Halloween 3? The one which doesn't feature Michael Myers and instead focuses on ancient Celtic demon trying to slaughter the youth of America with Jack-o-Lantern masks? Considered a failure, it resulted in the producers bringing back Michael for the next installment. Even though the acting is flat, it has the worst sex scene in cinematic history, and it's as scary as the Mary Kate and Ashley Halloween special; there's a certain charm that can't be denied. It might have everything wrong with it, but that's what makes it so bad, it's good. Massacre's From Beyond shares some similarities with that film that also makes it a "bad" classic, even if it is the Cro-Magnon version of Leprosy.
The most notable feature on From Beyond are the vocals from the one and only Kam Lee. If, by chance, you've read interviews with him, you'll learn of his self-importance and how he single handedly invented growling. Ignoring his unwarranted self-importance and focusing on his monotone vocals, you can't help but laugh. Y'know when you play some good ol' death metal for some of your unenlightened pals and they quip:"Why does the singer sound like the cookie monster?" Well here it sounds like the connoisseur of cookies himself decided to try his hand at metal. I often imagine the lyrics being based more on Kam Lee's obsession with cookies rather than z-grade horror flicks.
But if you thought the vocals are goofy were goofy, wait till you hear Rick Rozz's blazing solos! While Kam might've liked cookies, Rick loved Hamburgers (check out that physique!). He also loved making his leads sound like airplane noises you made when you were 5. Imagine that same noise in every damn song and you have mastered Rick Rozz's Guide to Soloing. His riffs fare better though. There quite catchy yet, as simple as children's music (check out the opening to Cryptic Realms). It's one of the few signs of expertise that comes from Massacre.
From Beyond basically sounds like one of those Slayer-rip offs from the late 80s that would've released an album on New Renaissance. Add sloppiness and the most generic Morrisound production you could possibly imagine and you get this. It's also cheesy as fuck. Take the low-budget synth intro to Chambers of Eternity. Way to set up a song about the Holocaust with the theme music from a Sega Genesis game. The rhythms are simple and caveman-like and so are the drums as well. But this album might've been fucked from the beginning by being named after the terrible sequel to Reanimator.
While From Beyond is as goofy as the Barney live-action film and is a fitting example of Caveman metal, there is a certain charm to it. Maybe it's the catchy riffs that pop up every now and then. Maybe it's Kam Lee's unique vocals. But, like Halloween 3, it's probably its complete lack of coherency and its dedicated adherence to tried and true clichés that gives it a lovable personality and a certain charm that can only come from being so bad, that it's good (well more like somewhat decent).
DarkSurgeon on May 16th, 2009
Great Death Metal from Ex - Death Members
After some members played on Death’s second and third albums, Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, Massacre decided to record their debut album. The result was From Beyond a definite Death Metal classic that told the world that Massacre weren’t just “those guys that used to be in Death”. They were a proper Death Metal band and they meant business.
The line-up of the band on this album is a mixture of Death members who played on Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, Terry Butler (bass) and Bill Andrews (drums), and some members from a pre-Scream Bloody Gore incarnation of Death, Rick Rozz (guitars, which he did also play on Leprosy) and Kam Lee (vocals, drums in Death). As you can probably guess from the members previous credits, Massacre sound like the early Death style of thrashy – death metal, although the guitar sound is slightly different and the vocals are much lower (some credit Kam Lee as one of Death Metal’s first growlers).
A few of the songs such as opener Dawn of Eternity and Chamber of Ages start with sound effects. To be honest these do sound a bit cheesy but they help to build up the atmosphere and probably do enhance the songs slightly, even if that isn’t necessary. Slow riffs start the songs proper before the high-speed drumming kicks in and the full on aural assaults begins. Some of the riffs are fairly memorable, I found myself with the intro to Defeat Remains playing in my head for a while after listening to this album. The main staple of the songs are high speed riffing but mixed up with a few slower sections but this is one album where I didn’t find myself getting bored with the faster sections. Most of the songs on this album I didn’t find repetitive and boring but listenable and dare I say it, sometimes “catchy”, these aren’t extra short two minute compositions but whole songs, the shortest being three minutes and the longest being over five. The drums are good they drive the songs along and are mostly in time.
Kam Lee can really growl. These vocals are considerably lower than Death, although not as low than those in bands such as Suffocation, but the great thing about them is that if you listen carefully you can still understand the lyrics. These lyrics, although not your standard Death Metal ones, still deal with fitting subjects for the genre evil spirits and demons and sometimes death. All the vocals are delivered in Lee’s trademark death growl although he sometimes changes to screams or screeches which are also delivered perfectly. Overall, no problems in the vocal/lyrical department and in fact applause must be given for the incredibly tasteful lyrics in the song Corpsegrinder (a song written by some of the members whilst they were in Death).
I have only a two criticisms of this album. One would be the lack of solos. I’m not one to go for endless showing off on guitar but surely Rick Rozz would be capable of throwing in an extra solo or two? My only other criticism is that although I like this album it doesn’t stand out as an excellent Death Metal album. As you can see from the rating I like this album a lot but when you put it next to albums like Leprosy and Cause of Death it just doesn’t seem to have any absolutely excellent songs.
This said there are some great highlights to the album namely Defeat Remains, my personal favourite and Cryptic Remains. These songs have memorable riffs and are constructed excellently so that you don’t get bored.
The album was recorder at Morrisound Studios in Florida, produced by Colin Richardson and engineered by the one and only Scott Burns. I love much of the music that was recorded at Morrisound and as a producer Scott Burns produced many great albums. I’m not familiar with Colin Richardson (although a quick Google search and a reading of sleeve notes revealed he engineered the Gorguts album The Erosion of Snaity) but he seems to have done a good job on this album. The production is clear and you can here most of the instruments clearly although I can’t manage to pick out the bass (but I’m rubbish at that sort of thing anyway so maybe it’s just me).
Overall this is a great album that anyone who is a fan of Death or Old School Death Metal in general should own. The album has been rereleased with a different cover and The Inhuman Condition EP. This version is well worth buying as the EP has some killer tracks on it, as well as an entertaining cover of Venom’s Warhead.
morbert on January 27th, 2009
Solid but not classic nor mind blowing
Even though Kam Lee is credited as one of metal’s earliest ‘grunters’ his vocals here on this album are more than an inch short of characteristic compared to contemporary artists. This is no Dave Vincent, Mark Barney Greenway, Glen Benton, Martin van Drunen nor Chris Reifert. Well, Kam Lee is harsh and monotone, I’ll give him that. But nothing more than a paper legend as far as I’m concerned.
The rest of the band here are the Leprosy-era members from Death but without a decent songwriter in their midst. On a few songs the band surpass themselves by composing a nice tune. “Chamber of Ages” and “Corpse Grinder” being the best two tunes here. But honestly, “Corpse Grinder” wasn't even originally written by this band (well, maybe a riff and some lyrics?).
I’ve never been too fond about Rozz’ playing. He’s the Kerry King of death metal and even though his leads are adequate, his song writing skills are rather mediocre. Remember, this is the guy who wrote the worst track on Leprosy (“Primitive Ways”). Not saying it was a bad song, but it was just bleak compared to the other songs. And that’s exactly the over all feeling “From Beyond” gives me each time I hear it. Second rate songs played by a decent bunch of musicians.
I must admit, I never fully gave this band the benefit of the doubt. This had a lot to do with the monotone dull playing courtesy of Bill Andrews and Terry Butler earlier on Leprosy (read my review for more on that). But also the fact that every other Death guitarist which came after Rozz just made more sense. Yet still I got my hands on this album and played it regularly a few years.
Deep inside I hoped these ‘Schuldiner-rejects’ would have their revenge. That they would prove they didn’t need Chuck to make it big. Unfortunately, it never grew. It remained a cute but second rate album. And to make things worse they later released a rather flat EP (“Inhuman Condition”) and a horrible second full length (“Promise”) Also the one and only time I saw this band live, somewhere late ’91 or early ’92 (together with Brutal Truth if I remember correctly) they just didn’t make much impact. These were the rejects, trying to have their go at fame as well during the heyday of death metal.
“From Beyond” is a nice piece of history. A decent, solid and surely quite entertaining death metal album from the early days. Yet when making a personal list of all those classic DM albums from the ‘87-’91 period, this one never made it…
draconiondevil on December 23rd, 2008
From Beyond Death Metal
This album is [as the title suggests] beyond death metal. Meaning that this album is quite extraordinary and so is/was this band. The vocalist for this band is the notorious Kam Lee. Many credit him with inventing the vocalization style known as “death growling” and if you listen to this album you can see why. His growls are excellent! Reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner in that the growls are low but still comprehensible. There are some pretty nice screams on this album too. They sound similar to those of Chris Barnes on The Bleeding but not as frequent nor as annoying as that. The main difference has to be that they sound a bit like those of Chuck Schuldiner. There are some really catchy vocal lines on this album such as the chorus to “Succubus” (THE SUC-U-BUSS!) and “From Beyond” (IN TO THIS WORLD.. FROM BEYOND)! The end of “Corpse Grinder” is neat too with the last “RAWR!” echoing from side to side in your earphones.
After the vocals the lyrics seem like a logical step don’t you? Most death metal bands don’t put a lot of thought into their lyrics (except for a select few such as Nocturnus) but this album is an exception. I have never heard the words: pneumatic; equinox; abysmal; obscuration and deteriorating in a death metal song before, which goes to show that these are some excellent lyrics!
The guitar riffs on this album are very fast as are most of the songs. Mainly tremolo picked at ferocious speeds with typical death metal solos. Nothing really special about the solos here, mainly random high pitched notes with excessive use of the whammy bar. The solos have not yet evolved in the virtuosic solos of Inhuman Condition. The fastest riff here has to be on the first song “Dawn of Eternity” simply because of pure aggression yet intricacy of the riff. The slowest song is “Defeat Remains” but just because it is slow it does not mean that it is a bad song. It is one of the heaviest songs because of its crushing brutality.
The bass isn’t really too audible on this album but it’s not as hard to hear as the bass on a Trivium album so I suppose they earn points for that. The few times you do hear bass it also is not doing anything too interesting either but it keeps the songs together and complements the heaviness of the guitar. Which is basically what a bass guitar is meant to do anyway.
The drumming on this album nicely complements the guitar riffs with their speed. This is some top notch drumming. It’s fast in every song with some nice fills and lots of variation. Not just your usual constant double bass and blast beats. The timing with the drums is good as well. Listen to the title track to know what I’m talking about.
This is among the fastest and heaviest old school death metal albums I have heard and after hearing it there is no doubt why this is the best album from one of the genre’s most underrated but influential bands. And after all, without Kam Lee there would be no death growls. If you enjoyed this album as much as me I recommend buying the Inhuman Condition EP as well.
- Dawn of Eternity
- From Beyond
AndySlayer on July 8th, 2008
The way death metal was meant to be
This is what death metal is about. Incoherent vocals, constant blast beats, drop Z tuning and all that can sure as hell be fun from time to time, however this is where it started. True, the album was released in 1991 when death metal was in full swing but bear in mind that some of the songs that appear on the album range back to Massacre's demos and even go back as far as Death's 1984 demo Reign of Terror.
Did I mention that Kam Lee, along with Chuck Schuldiner, Paul Speckmann, Jeff Becerra and a couple of other individuals pretty much invented the death grunt? Oh, and Rick Rozz also helped pioneer the whole whammy bar abuse thing (although probably not exactly a result of pure musical genius, which fueled Trey Azagthoth's blazing lead work, if you catch my drift).
Add to that that all 4 members were, at one time or another, members of Death and you've got yourself a true piece of death metal history.
Enough babbling about history! To say that this album sounds like a beast would be an understatement. The drums are more or less thrash inspired and are mostly either double bass beats or standard thrash beats with a couple of slower sections thrown in for good measure. Andrews' performance has improved when compared to Leprosy and its lack of fills.
Now, onto the bass... The bass is actually audible in quite a few sections here if you listen a bit more closely, however the bass lines follow the guitar riffs pretty much all the time. So, onto the guitars then.
The guitar riffs are mostly tremolo picked, however that's not a bad thing, not by a long shot, they sound extremely ferocious due to their speed. A major aspect to the guitar sound here is the use of effects/pedals. I don't have a clue on what Rick used here, however I'm quite sure the distortion slider was turned up to 11. The guitar sounds very crunchy, almost to the point of it sounding fuzzy. Don't let my previous sentence mislead you though, this sounds nothing like the crunchy, monolithic chugging of the Sunlight Studios bands. The solos here are complete whammy bar torture. You have to listen to this to understand what I'm saying, seriously.
The vocals... Well, somebody has criticized them for being unoriginal, standard fare death metal vocals. I couldn't disagree more. How does pretty much inventing a vocal style make you "unoriginal"? Barney Greenway from Napalm Death himself acknowledges Kam Lee as a major influence, so I think this doesn't need to be debated any further. As for what he sounds like... Well, he calls his vocal style the "death vomit" and I think that it's quite a fitting description.
The lyrics aren't exactly ground breaking, so I'm not gonna go into detail here, however I'd like to stress out that the songwriting here is awesome. The songs aren't all that diverse but it should all become a bit clearer after a few listens.
So, all in all, From Beyond is a vicious piece of death metal released perhaps a bit too late. But that doesn't matter, because this is one hell of an album. If you like early Death, Master, Possessed and so forth and haven't checked this out already, proceed to do so!
MorbidFlorist on May 10th, 2008
A Monstrous, Brutal Slab of Death Metal
MASSACRE- FROM BEYOND
It's a damn shame that Massacre never really got around to doing much after this and their "Inhuman Condition" EP (I'm not even counting that really disappointingly retarded "gothpop" album Promise, since I don't think it's a true Massacre album), because I really think they harnessed a uniquely brutal approach to death metal completely unlike the overly technical wankery of Suffocation and the black/grind aesthetic of Morbid Angel. Massacre's sole effort, From Beyond, has to be one of the most brutal slabs of death metal. In fact, I think this album deserves a spot right up there with Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten in your CD collection. Listening to songs such mushroom cloud laying heavy cuts such as "Chamber of Ages" and "From Beyond" (two of my all-time favorite death metal pieces of all time), I am deeply surprised that this album is not mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned album.
Musically, Massacre employs standard downtuned thrash riffs and solos. But you don't hear that thanks to the sonically heavy and intense production Scott Burns gave this (I think this album was his best project ever). The music is simplistic, but very intense. The only guitarist in the band (very strange for a death metal band, in my opinion) , Rick Rozz, has some deadly riffs and solos (listen to his completely alien solo in "Cryptic Remains") , but he is nowhere near the technical wizards Trey Azagtoth or Terrance Hobbs. Also, Bill Andrews has a much more profound presence in this album than in his previous outing with Death (his drumming was almost nonexistent in "Spiritual Healing"), he has much more rolls and fills (especially in the opening track, "Dawn of Eternity") in this album, but I wouldn't say he is a good drummer or has improved much. The bass, like in most metal bands, is barely audible; I couldn't remember any standout moment the bassist (Terry Butler) had on this album.
The real star of the show is Kam Lee's insane vocals. I think Kam Lee is FUCKING sick in this album. He employs a very unique tri-vocal attack (a harsh death grunt, a bellowing roar, and a sick piercing scream). He sounds like Frank Mullen, Barney Greenway, and Glen Benton all in one; but far more ferocious and intense than any of those vocalists. He has tremendous ammounts of pitch and range, a key ingredient to any death metal vocalists. His stamina and intensity is matched by very few in the death metal camp (maybe perhaps Sylvain Houde of early Kataklysm can lay claim to that) ; and that's why I think Kam Lee is the greatest death metal vocalist...ever (hey, he created the "death metal growl" didn't he?) . Too bad he wasn't involved in anything else after this release to further slaughter other death metal vocalists (I never heard any of his contributions to his newer band, Denial Fiend, to further comment).
I recommend this album to any one who is into sick, old school death metal, especially of the Florida variant. Every time I listen to this, I am appealed to its intense, sickeningly heavy quality and morbid atmosphere that it has (I guess I can give credit to the top notch production Scott Burns and the Morrisound crew gave this one). I listen to this album quite often, and you can't go wrong with going this. I actually prefer listening to this album over Death's "Leprosy" (an album very similar to this, both in style and mood); I think Massacre has accomplished a level of brutality and sickening atmosphere Death was trying to create with the above album. All in all, I think you should get this if you are into death metal.
Torwilligous on June 12th, 2007
There's always been issues with Massacre. By the time this - their masterwork, if such a grandiose word can be applied - was finally recorded and released, they were woefully out of date. Already Suffocation had come, and the death metal landscape would never again be the same. What many fail to realise, however, is that these songs are older than the printed date suggests, being penned in the 80's, whilst death metal was still in its embryonic stage. Massacre, however, went a different direction from the legendary Death - a band in which most of the band had already served. The riffs are less angular, with less of the haunting melody that Death became known for; whilst the music is more thrash than death in many ways, the timbres used by Massacre defined the future sound of the genre - brutal, deep, muffled, and grinding.
Much like the majority of the pre-Suffocation crowd, Massacre preferred to focus on primordial heaviness over frenzied brutality (though there is plenty of thrashy speed to enjoy, make no mistake) with the result that the riffs and structures stand out, loud and proud. And what riffs! A recipe for a Massacre riff would be along the lines of the following:
- whip up the heaviest, most distorted guitar tone you can find;
- take one thrash riff, preferably Slayer, Kreator or Dark Angel;
- remove all but a few of the notes;
- slow it down a bit;
- play several takes, all very slightly mistimed, and overlay;
- repeat procedure.
Does that sound less than impressive? It should do, but Rick Rozz is one of a special breed; a terrible musician who, by complete accident, produces genius - for his performance here is so wild, carreering and unhinged that it actually makes the record. Layers upon layers of distortion claw out, veering all over the place in a state of sublime chaos. The simplistic riffing is head-slammingly heavy and catchy, and his jaw-dropping 'solos' utterly eschew conventional tonality and virtuosity, being no more than ludicrous and uncontrolled squalls of whammy bar dives and abuse - to an extent that would even cause Repulsion to pale. Make no mistake, however, for this is horrifyingly effective, bringing vividly to the mind images of insanity, lust, greed and violence; all the most menacing, brutal and base afflictions of man laid bare.
At this juncture we come to Kam Lee, perhaps the greatest ever death metal vocalist (a bold claim perhaps, but I find his attack, tone and stamina to be second to none). For the time, his vocalisations were exceptionally deep and brutal - though in these terms has of course long been surpassed - and the untamed ferocity of his voice is still evident today, propelling the music with a rhythmic force that was once the preserve of the bass guitar. He is also notable in that his vocals have both range and depth; not flatly 'br00thal', but emphasising certain lines and moods within a piece whilst maintaining his demonic technique. Together, Rozz and Lee create a profound and scarring attack that is second to none. Throw in shatteringly heavy drumwork, cliff-drop tempo changes and a near-total rejection of dynamic variation (with any such merely being used to introduce pieces or emphasise the rest of the work's heaviness), and we have the whole confection nicely summed up well before dinnertime.
Sometimes, I do wonder what it is about 'From Beyond' that is so appealing; but I have come to the conclusion that there is no particular section or performance that stands out. The production, the enthusiasm with which the songs are played, the overall cheesiness and energy of the release, the way that the riffs and vocals compliment each other in their repetitive bludgeoning rhythms; the whole confection just works, and remains unique - even inimitable, given the extent to which the personalities of the performers are hammered all over it. In their purest essence, Massacre basically peverted every single staple tenet of advanced musical theory: precision, harmony, melody, dynamic, sophistication, complexity and subtelty are blown straight out of the window by a wall of unrelenting riffage. And I love it.
Nailgunner on November 29th, 2005
THIS is death metal
Massacre's first album, "From Beyond" for me is one of those albums that I just keep on listening to time after time. Some think that it is a rather generic and boring album with nothing original on it. That's true in some ways, but it also still is one of darkest, heaviest and most enjoyable pieces of metal there is. "From Beyond" displays some truly powerful and raging metal from the deepest depths of hell, and at the moment I don't know any album that could challenge it in terms of darkness and brutality. Only one that gets even close is "Darkness Descends" from Dark Angel, but it can't match Massacre's way of making super-catchy riffs and some totally ball-crushing moshparts.
Musically this album is still interesting in all it's simplicity. By the time of it's making, death metal was just taking it's first steps, so the guitar riffs are still very, very thrashy. Actually "From Beyond" sounds like a hybrid of Onslaught, Kreator and Destruction, with a brutal dose of added morbidity. This brings the album a unique type of atmosphere that I just love like nothing else. One very similar album is Death's "Scream Bloody Gore", but I find "From Beyond" to be better in terms of songwriting, singing and the sound.
In addition to the power of the songs, the album also has a plutonium-heavy production that just gives this album an edge over many other release from the same time period (and beyond). So if you're a fan of simplicity, power and brutality and still don't know should you buy this album, let me help you: DO IT NOW.
corviderrant on January 6th, 2005
Flawed But Still Good
Massacre were notorious for Kam Lee's deep, roaring vocals, and he was the best of the musicians on display here. His occult/horror lyrics are pretty standard issue for the genre, and the music is straightforward, simple death metal that gets the job done.
But the production is excellent, however; Rick Rozz' guitar is one of the thickest meat grinder crunch tones out there (worthy of a Tookie's burger!), the bass has a full and deep sound, and the drums sound crisp and clear. I wish I could say they had musical ability to match this sterling production job, though!
While Rick Rozz is a solid riffer, his leads are hysterically bad--I swear, if you gave this man a guitar WITHOUT a Floyd Rose vibrato system, he'd be at a loss if you ordered him to solo! He simply plays the same hackneyed horsey noises, squeals, and divebombs in every song, literally the same sounds over and over, just like Allen West. Makes Kerry King sound inspired, he does. And Terry Butler is a pretty weak drummer in that he can crank out a thrash beat pretty well, but his double kick technique is laughable. You can clearly hear his feet stumbling and faltering badly.
That said, well, I gave this album a decent review because the riffs SLAY alongside Kam's vokills. The feeling of this album is true death metal madness, and what it lacks in musical prowess and polish it makes up for with lots of aggression and character. I can forgive the lack of high caliber playing (well, OK, Rick's "leads" always get me laughing my arse off) for that alone. That and Kam simply sounds as evil as it gets with his throat-slaughtering roars. He's convincing, to say the least. Far from perfect, but still a good album worth a listen or three, this is in the long run.
From Beyond track list
|1||Dawn of Eternity||05:12|
|4||Chamber of Ages||04:51|
From Beyond lineup