Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review; Master - The Witchhunt

Master - The Witchhunt

Track Listing:

1. The American Dream
2. Another Suicide
3. God Of Thunder
4. Manipulated To Exterminate
5. The Parable
6. Plans Of Hate
7. Raise Your Sword
8. Remove The Clowns
9. Waiting To Die
10. Wipe Out The Aggressor
11. The Witchhunt

Deep, buzzing bass paves the way for Master's old-school attack in a style that is true to the earliest of Death Metal. Back in 1983 it was simply a case of mixing an aural cocktail of Motorhead, First-Wave of Black Metal legends; Venom, and early-day Slayer. This could be heard in the albums of Possessed, Death and, of course Master. Originally from Chicago, the somewhat-iconic Master are now based in the Czech Republic of all places. Their music, as this eleventh full length album shows, is still firmly rooted in the American Death Metal sound.

The album as a whole, splits me somewhat; I greatly appreciate the classic Death Metal sound as much as any fan, but while the classic albums like Death's 'Scream Bloody Gore' or Autopsy's 'Severed Survival' haven't aged a day and are still massively enjoyable, it feels like a period in the history of the genre that should be left to rest. In this day and age it is the trend to be 'traditional', 'raw' or 'old-school' to show that your band is somehow more credible than any modern band (a thought process that eludes my understanding) but at the end of the day, is innovation and progression not what has kept Heavy Metal alive for so long?

'The Witchhunt' feels outdated before it's time, but while that is a bit of a problem to me as a listener, I wont say that the writing or the songs themselves are poor. There are catchy and perhaps memorable riffs throughout and plenty of atonal guitar solos that are as ugly as an Angel Fish meeting a shotgun. The drumming is sound and the vocals are sick. However, even five songs into the record, I find it hard to forget that aforementioned niggle. This would've been a fantastic album in the early 90's, without a doubt, and to the band's credit, you can feel that they're playing what they enjoy playing and probably don't give a shit for anyone that isn't impressed, nor should they. Instrumentally 'Raise Your Sword' is a barrage of riffs and is tight as fuck. 'The American Dream' was catchy and does latch itself onto my memory. However, it's hard to hear this and lose my shit to it when there are bands like Deicide, Autopsy and Immolation still making Death Metal that sounds fresh, venomous and truly exciting.

It's a shame, really. While this is an enjoyable and listenable album, even after a few full listens it feels like it'll be just a footnote in this year's list of metal releases compared to many other great records that have come out. Again; not a bad album, not by a longshot, but I probably wont spin it that much and it's unlikely to cross my mind as an album of the year. I'll always have a soft spot for Master, but I think I'll hold out for seeing them live at some point as opposed to sitting at the edge of my seat for the next record.

Rating: 5.5/10

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