Lair of the Minotaur
War Metal Battle Master

Über fucking metal album title.

Über fucking metal album cover art.

Über fucking metal song titles and lyrics.

Über fucking metal inlay art.

Über fucking metal video.

Lair of the Minotaur are just Über fucking metal. Period.

Now on their third full length album, Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur have been steadily improving and honing their stoner-meets-death meets-thrash since forming a mere five years ago. With War Metal Battle Master, the Minotaur appeared to have finally peaked.

Musically, Lair of the Minotaur seem to be headed further away from the stoner/doom/fuzzed out side of things and delving more fully into a crusty, throwback, Celtic Frost/Bolt Thrower/Cianide-inspired grizzly, old school death metal. Notably the vocals of Steven Rathbone (7000 Dying Rats) seem to taken on a gruffer Johnny Hedlund (Unleashed) meets Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek (Vader) tone that suits the material far better — the vocals more upfront.

New drummer Chris Wozniak has injected a more aggressive dynamic that makes the music a little tighter and even more metal, but therein lies the problem. While delivering rollicking, thunderous riffs and blood-pumping anthems of war, death, mythology, and destruction, the fact is (and has been for all their material), it’s relatively disposable. Basically, I’m having a raucous good time when I’m listening to tracks like the opener “Horde of Undead Vengeance,” “When the Ice Giants Slayed All,” the almost blast beat of “Black Viper Barbarian Clan,” the groove of “Assassins of the Cursed Mist” and the 10-minute epic “Doomtrooper.” I’m in no real rush, however, to revisit the album. And when War Metal Battle Master is over, I really can’t recall much of it.

Of course, memorability isn’t the goal of the band’s dirty, murky, and menacing metal — blows away all of Moribund’s recent attempts at old school death metal — but I’d still like to have a riff or so stick in my head as much as the themes, video, and artwork. I just keep waiting for the Minotaur to pen that special, unforgettable moment that defines them rather than 40 minutes of (enjoyable and solid but relatively standard) noise.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 18th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Staylow

    I think you nailed that perfectly – my thoughts exactly. That video is fucking awesome too.


  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    interesting review but I’ll mention that when I initially listened to this album one of the first things I noticed was how it seemed to lack that immediacy and instantly appealing catchiness that their first two albums had I was a little put-off by this. It took about a week of cranking it driving to and from work to really let it start seeping into my brain. Now having had it for a month or more I think it is very possibly their best album yet. There is a lack of those big obvious mega-riffs from songs like The Wolf or The Ultimate Destroyer but the songs as a whole are the best they’ve written. I recommend giving the album some time as unlike their first two it doesn’t come roaring out of the gate with everything it has to offer right up front.


  3. Commented by: swampthang

    well godless rising battle lords was a sweet album to listen to. hell heathens rage was my october jam. but nways iz dig this band lots


  4. Commented by: Apollyon

    Yup, gotta give thumbs up to that music video. Pure class.


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