Master
Vindictive Miscreant

Master is a bit of an unusual act. The band, or more specifically, bassist/vocalist and founding member, Paul Speckmann, has been involved in the metal scene for 35 years now and arguably, he is credited among other notable metal alumni such as Death‘s Chuck Schuldiner, Possessed, and Necrophagia‘s Killjoy with helping create death metal itself. The majority of extreme metal fans, myself included, weren’t introduced to the band until the group’s second full-length album, On the Seventh Day God Created…Master, was released in 1991. Somewhat heralded as a minor classic, the truth of the matter is that On the Seventh Day….. was actually kind of a dull/lackluster affair. The album didn’t really offer anything in terms of its mostly boring songs other than the boasting of Cynic/Death guitarist, Paul Masvidal, in the lineup; which was a complete waste of talent given Speckmann’s/Master’s more rudimentary style. Unfortunately, besides a few specific songs here and there, the same sentiment of On the Seventh Day…..(and the band’s self-titled debut a year earlier) can be used to sum up the bulk of Master‘s discography from the ’90’s.

Though something changed when Speckmann left the U.S. for the Czech Republic. After playing on a couple of Krabathor albums and in turn the Krabby‘ boys playing on Master‘s  2002 release, Lets Start a War, Speckmann eventually hooked up with guitarist, Alex Nejezchleba, and drummer, Zdenek Pradlovsky. Though still the main songwrriter, and still sporting the same death metal of 1985 formula that Mr. Speckmann was known for, something clicked with the band and their material unlike ever before. The songs were better written, better played, better presented, better produced and well, just better all the way around. In fact, with the same stable lineup for the past fifteen years, Master have been consistently and proficiently releasng the best material of their career; from The Spirit of the West up to their newset release, Vindictive Miscreant, Master have nary missed a beat.

If you’ve just recently crawled out from the rock you have been living under and looking to check out Master for the first time, then you’re in luck. Vindictive Miscreant, like every other one of their albums, is a perfect jumping off spot for delving into the band, and their brand of Possessed vs Demolition Hammer vs Solstice (the Florida one), slathered in an aura of punk rock, and never passing the gait of Death‘s Leprosy-era, extreme metal. From the self-titled opener, to closer, “Stand Up and Be Counted”, Vindictive Miscreant is a damn solid and quite vicious offering, and though Master always has and always will have that “heard it before” sound, akin to death metal’s version of AC/DC, the band deliver the goods once again. As one would expect, all of the album’s tracks stand toe to toe with each other with no real highlight or standout, though I personally dug the consecutive tracks of “Engulfed in Paranoia” and “The Impossible of Dreams” for their solid hooks and play in both tempo and groove. Other notable nods come in the form of some nice Slayer-esque licks in “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”, a fat Sabbath-y swagger in “The Inner Strength of the Demon”, and some caliber faster and punky vibes in “The Book”.

Lets face it, Master do what they do and they do it well. They’re not Burger King and they’re not going to do it “your way”. These guys are in this metal game for themselves, plain and simple, and respectfully so. While some albums hit harder than others, you always know exactly what you’re going to get with a new release from the trio, both a good and bad thing. Dependent on where your individual tastes lie, Master can be an ass kicking fun time or a dated stagnant bore. I tend to go with the former assessment, as I’m not quite the jaded, bitter bastard of harsh judgment that I used to be.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
November 6th, 2018

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