Serial killer-obsessed metal veterans Macabre are ready to slash and burn their way across Australia. Mark Hebblewhite approaches guitarist Lance ‘Corporate Death’ Lencioni and lives to tell the tale.
Why are we so obsessed with serial killers? Because that's human nature, my friend,” laughs Macabre guitarist Lance 'Corporate Death' Lencioni when explaining why his band has written exclusively about serial killers and their craft over a stunning 25-year history.
“People sometimes look at us and think we must be crazy because of what we write and sing about. But really, everyone is obsessed with serial killers – they fascinate our society. It's not just extreme metal guys; there are old ladies sitting around in whatever city in America who pick up the paper and just have to read the story about unsolved gruesome crimes or the capture of a notorious serial killer. It's a morbid fascination that stems from the human condition. For me it all started in junior high when I did a book report on Bonny and Clyde. In the same book there was stuff about Ed Gein and Albert Fish, and from that moment I was hooked.”
For a group who play murder metal (grindcore, death metal and old-school thrash mixed with a fascination for violence), Macabre have achieved something even most non-threatening dad rock acts can't pull off: they've managed to keep the exact same line-up for more than a quarter of a century.
“Sometimes I don't know how we've done it,” says Lencioni. “In this day and age bands go through members all the time – especially in metal. But Macabre has been the same three guys from day one. I've never really analysed why we've been able to do it but I think it comes down to a few things. First, there are only three of us – if there were five guys, five egos and abrasive personalities, we never would have survived this long. Also it's not like we've been out on the road or in the studio every second of our lives, and I think that has helped as well. But most of all we're all friends and we're all laid-back people: we do this because we love it and that's kept us together.”
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When Lencioni says Macabre haven't spent their lives in the studio he isn't kidding. Last year's Grim Scary Tales was the band's first full length LP since 2003's Murder Metal. But it seems that the break was beneficial, because the boys got the chance to research even more works about – you guessed it – serial killers.
“There are a lot more songs that were written at the same time as the material on Grim Scary Tales”, reveals Lencioni. “All those years we had off meant that when it came to write, the ideas just kept flowing. Grim Scary Tales was really just the first of two parts – a history of murder if you will. On that record we covered killers up until World War One – everyone from Nero to Countess Bathory, Dracula and Burke and Hare. The next album is going to cover everything after World War One right up to the modern day. We're going to take the chance to re-cover some of the killers we have already written about with some new lyrics and a new musical approach, so that should be pretty cool.”
While no other band has covered serial killers for as long, or as comprehensively, as the Chicago-based veterans, Lencioni refuses to take credit for starting a trend that has seen everyone from Slayer to Church Of Misery tackle society's most infamous individuals. It seems that gore-obsessed metal heads are also humble.
“We didn't set out to start any trend and I don't want to claim that we've greatly influenced all these bands – that's not what we're about,' he says. “We love making brutal music and telling compelling stories – and as long as society keeps producing these people we're not going to run out of subject matter.”