Grim Scary Tales

Macabre and Willowtip? Now that’s a pairing that took me by surprise. The Impaled signing and subsequent release of The Last Gasp seemed a tad askew too, though not in any kind of a shocking way. None of that should be taken to mean they weren’t smart signings though; only that Macabre in particular is not the type of band one associates with Willowtip.

In any event, this where I start my review by saying that I’ve not really given much of a —how you say?—shit about Chicago’s Macabre. I appreciate the talent and creativity involved with their quirky, darkly comedic brand of murderous death metal and found them to be an entertaining live act. Beyond that, this is just not what I want out of a death metal band and I can’t even remember the last time I went searching for a Macabre album for fun and enjoyment; it’s been years I’m sure. However… Just kidding; there is no “however” to it, as I’ve not changed my mind about Macabre after time spent with Grim Scary Tales.

Well, there is a mild “however” in that I did find the album to be somewhat entertaining and its manner of turning Grimm’s Fairytales (for the most part) inside out occasionally quite comical, if not side-splittingly so. But to be perfectly honest, I just don’t hear death metal when I hear the music of Grim Scary Tales, regardless of the aggressive moments involved. For that matter, I’m not sure I’d call most of these tunes aggressive in a USDM sense. A better word might be “manic,” as is the case with the moments of “Bella the Butcher” (this one inclusive of narrative intro) that move from those goofy melodic segments into Macabre’s patented knife-wielding nuttiness. In that regard, I found the mostly non-DM material at least amusing, even worthy of the occasional toe-tap. “Necro’s Inferno” with its faux Italian accent vocals, dramatic acoustic romp, and ridiculous chorus is a case in point. It is one of several deserving of praise for its creativeness since it’s not like just any Tom, Dick, Barry, Larry, or Harry deathster can pull this stuff off in any kind of convincing manner. The same goes with the spilled-guts rockabilly of “The Bloody Benders.” And come on, you have to appreciate the grisly tale and schizoid musicality of “The Big Bad Wolf.” But what song gets my Cro-Magnon Man cranium moving to and fro with force? It is rendition of Venom’s “Countess Bathory,” the song covered by thousands and the most straight ahead of the bunch. Big surprise, right?

It is true, drummer Dennis the Menace, guitarist/vocalist Corporate Death, and bassist/backing vocalist Nefarious are a talented, creative trio that are damn good at what they do and I mean that with the utmost sincerity. It’s just not for me. I do find the album’s artwork to be rather righteous, for whatever that’s worth. Macabre brings it in the only way they know how and more power to ‘em. But you know what? I still don’t give much of a shit about Macabre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
February 14th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I’m glad the reviewer appreciates Macabre’s talent and skills, but why the heck would he review this album in the first place? It would be like me reviewing an Enya or Paul Winter album. I’d have to acknowledge their musicianship and studio skills, but I can’t stand listening to their music.

    Granted it is better to have an honest and objective opinion instead of a raging fan-boy, but you should at least have someone who “gets it.” Macabre is all about the “schtick.”

  2. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Never heard the words Macabre and death metal mentioned together before…. sounds nothing like death metal at all. However, calling it Manic, is right on the money.

  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’m right there with you Scott. Macabre aren’t what I want out of a death metal band either… except much like Biff I wouldn’t consider them death metal either ;-)

  4. Commented by: Scott Alisoglu

    Ok, ok, it’s not death metal! Jeez! :-) Seriously, guess I wouldn’t disagree…I used the term rather loosely in this context, but I also don’t think it’s completely inaccurate.


  5. Commented by: stiffy

    Everyones a critic, Scott. Just bitch slap em

  6. Commented by: jerry

    macabre may not sound like most death metal bands but i cant think of a band more deserving of the title “death metal.” every song of theirs, for decades, has been about a serial killer or someone being killed. most death metal bands lyrically switch themes occasionally, but never Macabre.

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