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In 2002 "Maniac" Neil Smith, known for his bloody deeds with Lord Gore, Blood Freak, Maniac Killer and Whore, gathered four guys around him to form Frightmare "with the goal being to create the catchiest, heaviest most original hybrid of old school death metal, grindcore, punk and thrash they could." And fuck me if they didn't manage in it!
The album starts with a movie sample, and you'll find these throughout the album, but thankfully not very often. They were clipped from the movies such as "The Burning", "Friday the 13th", "New York Ripper". It's those 1970's-80's slasher movies what inspired this album.
'Midnight Murder Mania' assails with rusty yet sharp blades swinging. Within these 11 songs, the band seamlessly surf between death metal, grindcore, punk and thrash (Engorged guitarist Dean Stalkwell played on this album) styles. Hellishly contagious riffage, driving beats, freaky vocals and insane finger-grinding guitar solos/torturing is what Frightmare are all about. There's some occurrences of melodic leads, but they are kept scarce. Anyways, the riff is the king on this album, deservedly so. Well, except for that annoying nursery rhyme riff on 'The Ripper'. The pace is 99% fast with blastbeating or double kick drumming leading the way, so expect no mercy. The vocals are usual for the goregrind stuff: More or less low growling along with the shrieking growl, with various appearances by the sewer gurgle. All in all, despite all the influences, the band found the red thread, and kept it tightly in their hands. There's certainly not a boring moment here.
The production is two-sided, sadly. The guitars sound dirty and the bass mauls, but the drums are weak, no thanks to the flapping kick drums and the toms, but the snare drum too is flat. Yeah, no fuckin' triggers utilized, but still it's a defect, this drum sound business, no matter how organic sound the band wanted to have here. Comic yet brutal artwork from Tales from Uranus artist perfectly fits for the album. The lyrics would have been nice, thank you.
With 'Midnight Murder Mania', Frightmare have made killing fun! It's like all those slasher movies; it's not scary for a seasoned freak, but it's full of those moments where some poor bastard's head gets thrusted through a coat hook, or someone's eyes get goughed out. This is gore, not horror. Think of something like Haemorrhage mixed with Engorged-ish FUN, and you got Frightmare right about there. Pizza, beer and this, mmmmmmmmm.
(originally reviewed for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2008)