Brushed up reissue of an avant punk classic from 1981.
Peter Marsh 2005-12-29
Formed in 1980 and only in existence for a year or so (till ashortlived reunion in 1998), Massacre would walk away with the gong for 'Best Art Rock Power Trio of All Time', if such an award existed. Comprising English guitar experimentalist Fred Frith and New Yorkers Bill Laswell and Fred Maher on bass and drums respectively, they imagined an unholy union of The Shadows, Captain Beefheart, Derek Bailey and Funkadelic. All of this was delivered with a punkish intensity that was very much of the time (and place - this was Downtown New York).
But this is no mere antique or curio. Now finally issued on CD (and at the right speed), Killing Timereveals Frith at his most hyperactive and unfettered. With Laswell and Maher snapping at his heels,he uses his (literally) stunning technique to completely subvert any conventional notions of guitar heroics; wiry jazz chording, screams, rumbles and scratches woven into strange, hummable melodies. It's an aesthetic that would still give most guitarists nightmares. Genius.