Macabre is a death/thrash band formed all the way back in 1984, whose music and lyrical content were strongly influential on early death metal bands. I had never heard of them before, probably because they're not terribly prolific: Grim Scary Tales is the band's fifth full-length, with all five albums spread pretty evenly over their 27 year career. What we have here is what might most accurately be called a shtick. First, take the premise: each song is based on some, well, macabre tale from history, beginning with Locusta (a Roman serial killer) and ending with Karl Gro?mann (a butcher who sold human meat in Berlin during WWI). They are in chronological order, including a faithful cover of Venom's "Countess Bathory". The tales are told with all the corn of a carnival freak show promoter, in both clean vocals and strained growls like you might find in early death metal. Much of the time, this could come off as ordinary death/thrash, with some catchy riffs and melodies. But the corniness is woven into the structures of the songs themselves. They throw in cheesy music, like Italian folk in "Nero's Inferno" or old-timey horror movie music (you'll know it when you hear it) in "Dracula". If you think music has to be serious, stay away from this. But if you're open to the concept, it is extremely well-executed. The Verdict: Grim Scary Tales is a lot of fun, good for a few chuckles or rocking out. I'll be keeping my eye out for its planned follow-up, covering the period from WWI to the present.