Enjoy the Violence

An old school death metal band with a creative edge. Massacra, although having formed in the late 80's, cannot technically be thrown into that decade's large cauldron of great thrash outfits; all of the actual material has been released during the 90's, and while it is nice to see a group transcending the time period where that sound more or less died, these guys definitely have a "strange" feel to them. The killer riffing and great vocals (surprisingly!) are beyond a doubt there, as well as an overly brutal and powerful texture that connects this band to their predecessors, but the incorporation of jazz, acoustic, and various other elements gives them a distinct and almost "catchy" undertone at some moments. This is a dangerous formula to follow, since the tracks usually become either a hit or miss prospect - and the eventual overstep in progression inevitably occurs somewhere down the road.

Enjoy the Violence is probably Massacra's most solid release, dating back to their heavy death roots and containing several good and memorable songs. It clocks in somewhere around 38 minutes and leaves just enough space to absorb and evacuate before that fresh sentiment is lost - an error all too often committed by bands that attempt to produce long, memorable epics and consequently alienate their fan base. The foremost display of power is the album's self-titled opener, although other strong moments include "Ultimate antichrist", "Atrocious crimes", and "Sublime extermination." One aspect that should not be overlooked (and definitely adds another muscle) is a consistent and great drummer in the form of Chris Palengat. While most of the vocals are handled by Pascal Jorgensen (bass), guitarist Fred Death also steps in on two of the tracks ("Gods of hate", "Full of hatred") and delivers a more than formidable performance. The real driving force, however, is lead guitarist Jean Marc Tristani; while he is by no means carrying a group of talented and energetic musicians, his stellar performance throughout does deserve some sort of outside commendation.

Unfortunately, as was all too expected, the beginning of a steady and sick decline had been marked. Massacra's next effort was by no means bad - it was simply very unimaginative, and such recordings are more often than not a prophecy for ensuing disaster. Today, the band has degenerated to nothing more than a cheap Slayer imitation with remnants of the style that once made them immense very scarce indeed. Experimentation and evolution can be terrific things, but so is a working blueprint - and there's a time and place for everything. Running through a blizzard, despite how brave it appears, is rarely a good idea.

Massacra may not be up to par with the early thrash bands from Brazil, Germany, and the United States, but remember, these guys are from France damnit (a country hardly known for this ilk of metal - don't confuse these guys with the pathetic American band) and Enjoy the Violence is a more than worthwhile addition to any advocate's collection. I picked this up for a mere $3, and I gladly would have paid full album price even with prior knowledge of the shortcomings. Not vital at any cost, but a nice complement to your anthology - so grab it if you see it. You won't be disappointed.

2000 hando