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Massacre: Back From Beyond

Florida’s death metal masters reborn in glory

As any death metal diehard will tell you, Massacre were one of the most important bands to emerge from the genre’s late 80s heyday, and their 1991 debut From Beyond remains a seldom disputed classic. As a result, Back From Beyond – the true follow-up to its titular predecessor, 1996’s cack-handed Promise being best forgotten – arrives burdened by immense expectation.

Thankfully, despite the absence of original vocalist Kam Lee, this is both a triumphant reaffirmation of the band’s old-school values and a smart reminder that death metal’s formula requires no tinkering when handled by experts. Devastatingly heavy and sonically pristine, pulverising anti-hymns like Ascension Of The Deceased and Remnants Of Hatred have infectious, carnivorous riffs bursting from every scabbed pore, while singer Ed Webb steps ably into Kam’s shoes, delivering a powerhouse vocal performance that puts most of the modern scene’s unintelligible garglers to shame.

Neither stuck in the past nor needlessly enamoured of high-tech sterility, this is the sound of a great band tapping back into their own potent, untamed essence and skillfully extending a hallowed legacy.