Tuesday, 10 July 2012

MASSACRE - Promise (1996)

01  Nothing
02  Forever Torn
03  Black Soil Nest
04  Promise
05  Bitter End
06  Bloodletting [Concrete Blonde cover]
07  Unnameable
08  Where Dwells Sadness
09  Suffering
10  Inner Demon

'Promise' is the second album by the Floridian death metal band Massacre, released on July 23rd 1996 by Earache Records. 'Promise' saw the light of day a full five years after the band's now legendary debut record 'From Beyond' and after a long period of troublesome recording sessions. The album is notorious for a complete shift in musical direction and the record's actual line-up has been of much debate. New members Syrus Peters and Pete Sison handled drums and bass respectively.

Sadly, the only element you can trace from this to the debut album is the fact that Kam Lee and Rick Rozz are returning to their respective roles of vocals and guitar. Correction, Kam Lee is purportedly present on this album. He has claimed in interviews that he never finished the vocals, quit during post-production, and was not involved in the final product. Otherwise, it's an entirely different sound, pedestrian groove metal delivered with minimum effort. Say what you will about bands like Pantera and Biohazard, they at least put considerable work into their releases, where Promise has the musical merit of a hurried trip to a public restroom. Each of its nine originals evokes some pathetic guitar riff well below the talents of Rozz and the new rhythm section, and at best you're going to get a curvy, whacked out lead (i.e. "Unnameable") amidst the effluvia of this creative sewage. Meanwhile, Kam Lee (or whoever this is) grunts above this sluggish mess, hymns of woe related to what must be the most pathetic topic imaginable. You see, Promise is essentially a concept album about getting dumped or betrayed by a woman. I assume it's a woman because one of the tracks ("Where Dwells Sadness") contains a hypothetical conversation between the vocalist (referred to as 'Kam' at about :26 into the track) and some proxy succubus. It's like a Stabbing Westward record, only that band at least had a small handful of hooks in their favor. In 1996, Massacre did not. This is not "death metal" by any stretch of the imagination, avoid at all costs...

Kam Lee, Terry Butler and Steve Swanson along with Sam Williams and Curtis Beeson temporarily reunited as Massacre in 2006. Bulter and Rozz reformed Massacre in late 2011, with Mike Mazzonetto on drums and Ed Webb on vocals, and subsequently played the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise from Miami, Florida to Grand Cayman in January 2012. In March 2012, under the wing of lawyer Eric Greif - coincidentally Butler and Rozz's manager in Death - the band signed an international recording deal with Century Media Records, announcing a 7" release prior to their August 2012 appearance at the Wacken Festival in Germany and the release of their third full-length album in September 2012.

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