The year 1991 could just be the best year for Death Metal. You had a fuck ton of amazing albums being released by some incredible bands such as Morbid Angel, Death and Entombed. A lot of these albums have stood the test of time, have become benchmarks for the genre and are still highly regarded by fans and musicians 25 years after they were initially released. My favourite album from 1991 is From Beyond which is Massacre’s debut. It does all of the above and so much more – but before we delve into the musical masterpiece itself, let us first establish how Massacre came to be in existence…
Massacre were originally formed in 1984 by Allen West, Bill Andrews, Rick Rozz, and Terry Butler. Not long after Kam Lee joined on vocals. For one reason or another the band split up and got back together a few times but it wasn’t until 1991 that their debut album was released… and what an album it is!
For me, Massacre probably has the lowest, heaviest death metal vocals I’ve heard in my life. From Beyond is probably one of the best death metal albums that’s ever existed.
Have you seen that Metalocalypse episode where they record an album in a submarine or some shit at the bottom of the ocean? That’s how Massacre must have recorded From Beyond, they took the studio to the bottom of Tampa Bay!Steve Tucker :: Morbid Angel, Warfather
I remember being a snot faced 13-14 year old when I first saw this album for sale, it was at a local market where I was drooling over some vinyl records on a 2nd hand music stall, when the album cover hit me right in the face. I couldn’t stop looking over the cover with those demons/aliens/creatures looking like they were coming up out of the cover.
I loved the artwork, I loved the logo, the band on the back photo looked like a bunch of badasses, and to top it all off they were signed to Earache Records, which back in 1992-1993 was THE label to be with because they had all the big Death Metal bands like Morbid Angel and Napalm Death… So I spent my hard earned £2.99 (yes you read that right – bargain of the century right there!) and couldn’t wait to put it on the record player back home.
I wasn’t disappointed, I fell in love with the album on first listen… with it’s slow creepy intro building into the unmistakable opening riff of Dawn of Eternity. I remember the vocals sounding both creepy as fuck in places and downright amazing in others – needless to say at this point I was hooked and the rest of the album does not disappoint either!
I don’t think anyone could mistake Kam Lee’s brutal vocals or Rick Rozz’s sick guitar solos. Mix that with the overall dark, ominous feel and you get an album that keeps the death metal legacy alive for generations to come.
We have been lucky enough to work with both guys on Just Before Dawn songs and they definitely keep the legacy alive. 1991 was an insanely good year for death metal, and “From Beyond” just proves that point.Jonny Pettersson :: Wombbath, Skineater
There were a lot of crucial Death Metal albums being released in this same year, so what makes this one so special? The musicianship is tight as arseholes. The vocals are some of the sickest Death Metal vocals you are likely to ever come across. Some vocal parts sound more evil than Glen Benton in a shitty foul mood… whilst other parts give David Vincent and John Tardy a run for their money. If Reign in Blood is THE benchmark album for Thrash then From Beyond is without a doubt THE benchmark album for Death Metal.
I will confess that years down the line I sold my bargain vinyl when mp3 first reared it’s ugly head. As I write this article now I still do not own it on vinyl…but I do own it multiple times on CD (both the red cover and the blue cover). I will own it again on vinyl one day….hopefully cassette too!