While at first glance the name could very well be taken from yet another low budget slasher movie, The Massacre Cave are in fact a 4-piece alternative metal band from and around The Isle Of Eigg, Scotland. Situated in the Inner Hebrides, Eigg is a small island with an equally small population, but while it lacks in mass…it makes up for in mass murder, and this is where they get their name. According to clan tradition, way back in 1577, around 395 people were suffocated and killed while sheltering from the MacLoed clan inside the Cave Of Frances. The MacLoed’s, seeking revenge following a fall-out, found the islanders in hiding and started fires at the caves entrance, asphyxiating everyone inside, virtually wiping out the islands population. Or so they say. Might be a load of bollocks, who knows?
Anyway, history lesson over, The Massacre Cave (Who consist of guitarists/vocalists Joe and Ben Cormack, bassist Jodie Bremaneson and drummer Pete Colquhoun) originally formed in 2005, quickly becoming recognised within independent circles and within Scottish national tabloids for their intense sound and live shows, especially their breakout single “Behemoth”. Now, in 2020 we find them releasing their brand new album “Godlust” through Red Death Records…Joe sent me an email asking me to check it out…so let’s do just that before they send a clan after me!
The 8-track mini album opens up with “We Own The Sun” and after some gradually built, galloping riffs, we’re met with a wall of assertive percussion, channelling a rich progressive metal aesthetic with the off-kilter, rhythmic yet, technical fret-work. Vocally intense; combining an almost southern groove with guttural growling, making for a tumultuous opening. “From The Mountains” transitions in then nicely and there seems to be a little more structure to the instrumentation; the guitars seem that bit more regimented and disciplined, while vocally it’s as though we’ve taken influence from the likes of early SATYRICON in places. There’s the subtlest hint of black metal adding flavour to the track while still utilising traditional thrash influences, all combining to create that aforementioned progressive sound.
The blackened influences continue on the intro to “Tetramethrin” before the gruff vocals take the track down a more sludge-metal avenue, yet there are glimmers of the likes of Jaz Coleman of KILLING JOKE sprinkled here and there, there’s a fair variety of styles layered throughout these tracks in all honesty, making for an interesting listen. We have a couple of sub-three-minute offerings too starting with “Godfrey”, and it’s no more than a quaint little acoustic-led instrumental, breaking up proceedings nicely I will admit, while “Red Death” capitalises on those early thrash qualities, benefiting from some crisp recording, the solo here too just the cherry on top of quite the enjoyable track.
Finally then we do end up on the title track and again, we have a bountiful blend of genres, styles and sounds that fleet between progressive and traditional metal, ambient yet, avant-garde experimentation. It’s got some great hooks and balances it’s gentler melodies with its more crunching guitar work really well, ending the album on a positive note. Essentially The Massacre Cave tick a variety of boxes and if you enjoy your music somewhere between, say, early OPETH and MASTODON then you may find ample enjoyment over the course of these eight tracks. Despite living in the arse end of nowhere they’ve accumulated a smörgåsbord of influences, resulting in a colourful approach to progressive metal. Now if you’ll excuse me…I have the sudden urge to watch The Descent.