posted on 12/2010 By:
Maniac Butcher’s propensity for looking hilarious in their various band photos and album covers has always stood out to most people more than their actual music, but they’re a long-running outfit who's always managed to deliver solid, no-bullshit thrash-tinged black metal from behind the guise of their hilarious getups. (Sidenote: if you’re ever in need a good laugh, look up the cover of their debut album Barbarians.) Their first release after an almost decade-long creative hiatus, seventh full-length Masakr is another hefty slice of the band’s tried-and true formula, but unless you’re simply rabid for more of this band’s material, it's hardly an essential listen.
Black metal is the primary base here, but Maniac Butcher doesn’t have much of an ear for atmosphere or melody, opting instead for a more primal, war-themed approach. And for the most part, it works fine; the instrumentation is solid all around and the outfit generally strikes a good middle ground between galloping Bathory bombast and the grittier, thrashier work of Deströyer 666. But despite the fact that most of the riffs are fairly catchy and gratifying, there’s just not a whole lot of genuinely interesting songwriting to be found here. The few times when the band interjects some frostier, melodic elements are welcome additions, and it makes you wish the band had explored this side of their repertoire more as opposed to the tons of old-school black/thrash licks. The pounding drums and raspy vocals do their best to elevate the intensity of the guitar configurations, as does the occasional guitar solo or lead, but at the end of the day most of the band’s best riffs sound derivative of other bands, and their more original contributions (namely the doomy slowdowns found in several tracks) don’t seem to sink their hooks in quite as deeply.
I can’t accuse Manic Butcher of putting out a boring or poorly executed album; its just nothing particularly special, and most readers of this site have heard plenty of better examples of this style. Masakr is a fun and well-produced take on warrior black metal, and has enough legs to warrant a look from existing fans who have been awaiting new material. But if you’ve gone this long without being exposed to this Czech project, nothing here will make you kick yourself for missing out so far.
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