The Witch Hunt

Despite being one of the US’s longest running, oldest and most consistent death metal bands, Master never seemed to get the acclaim and recognition of say Obituary, Decide or Cannibal Corpse., and founder Paul Speckmann is OK with that. But by the same token, I think most would agree the band simply did not have the impact, influence or status of those bands because they simply were not as good or legendary. The band’s style wasn’t quite as extreme as their US peers and wasn’t quite pure thrash or crossover metal either, dipping a little into all of them. But the band is still going strong with Speckmann and he and a continually revolving supporting cast have delivered the band’s 12th album- an achievement in itself.

I personally have not really actively listened to Master since 1990’s  self titled debut and a passing listen to 1998’s Faith is In Season after finding it in a bargain bin. But like Incantation and Immolation, after hearing so many bands copying the style in my rreviewing days (Bones, Terminate, Lair it the Minotaur, Morgengrau, Besieged, etc), , I thought I’d better go back and revisit some of the source material of the “Chicago” sound.

And here it is in all of its Venom and Motorhead infused glory. As grizzled and grey as Speckmann’s beard, nothing has really changed in the Master camp in 23 years. Speckman still sounds like a gruffer, more gravelly Lemmy (check out “Wipe Out the Aggressor”) , the music is still sort of blustery, punky, thrash/death metal mix with an earthy, rough ‘n’ ready sound and  and it’s still relatively unimaginative and basic with many of the songs having the same gait, but at 51 minutes its a bit long . Tracks like “Plans of Hate”,  ‘The American Dream”,  and “Raise Your Sword” are all ‘s unquestionably Master, but that’s about it

And that is where folks will need to decide if they want to shell out their hard earned money and buy or download this release. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not particularly memorable and it really needs to have the dust blown off it to really appreciate it. But it is what it is- nothing more, nothing less, like the last 11 albums-it’s simply  a Master album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 2nd, 2014


  1. Commented by: Kris Allred

    Solid review…I’ve always tried to keep the fire lit for Master, so to speak, but it gets hard when you get the same album every few years…I do
    think that 2007’s Slave to Society is their best album, and I also enjoy the Krabathor albums that Speckmann was a part of as well…

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