Recorded at Volume Studios in Chicago by Sanford Parker, October 2007. Mixed by Sanford Parker and Steven Rathbone. Mastered by Scott Hull. Music and lyrics by Rathbone. Produced by Lair of the Minotaur. Executive production by Sanford Parker.
This is actually the very first album I listened on this project. Having just bundled four carrier bags of CDs into the back of my car I grabbed one at random to listen to on my drive home. And this was it. And I was impressed.
Having listened to the album for the best part of a week I have to say that I am still impressed. There is no pretence about this album. This is heavy music with clear influences from the likes of early Metallica, Slayer, and Death, as well as elements of doom and sludge metal. It’s a good mix.
Throughout the album, the guitars sound amazing. Some bands dial in a harsh, thin distortion often from effects pedals or digital effects, but these guitars sound like they are simply screaming through not much more than an over-driven amplifier: not too warm, but with just the right amount of crunch.
The album opens with feedback before warming up with a few crashing chords as it builds the tempo into the ‘Horde of Undead Vengeance’.
Track two, the title track ‘War Metal Battle Master’ has more than a tip of the hat to Ride the Lightning (1984) era Metallica, including a riff at 1’00’ that had me singing in the car, quite involuntarily:
Do unto others as they’ve done to you“Fight fire with fire”
But what the hell is this world coming to?
Next up, ‘When the ice giants slayed all’ has more than a little feel of being a Slayer track, as the song title hints at. Not just the thrashing power chords but the dual, squealing riffs too that punctuate the middle of the song.
Even at three tracks in, with so many respectful nods of the head to these thrash titans this album doesn’t feel ripped off, there is an integrity to the music, in the tradition of everything is a remix. This album is like a melting pot of the best elements of the thrash genre. And I like what has been formed from that combination. I like it a lot.
I’d really be doing the album a massive disservice too if I didn’t mention the song titles. How ‘metal’ are these?! I know I’ve listed them above, but let’s just appreciate them once again:
How much more metal could this be? And the answer is… none. None more metal. It’s like the results from a perfect metal song title generator.
Track seven ‘Doomtrooper’ has a quite a different feel to much of the rest of the album. It opens with an atmospheric, almost Arabian feel—with horns (literal and metaphoric)—before handing over to a pounding, doom-laden riff and the deepest, gruffest vocals of the album, like a slowed-down Morbid Angel.
The album closes with a mournful riff that opens ‘Hades unleashed’ which quickly morphs into something that could easily have been on Slayer’s Hell Awaits (1985) album
I really like this album. So much so that I didn’t want to have write this review as it would mean I needed to move on to the next album. And I know what’s coming up, and on my first few listens of that I really didn’t like it. Please make it stop. Please me have to listen to this album for another week.
Of course, I will. This is going to be on my MP3 player for quite a while to come. Brilliant! Thank you Lair of the Minotaur.
Review score: 100%