Company: Southern Lord Recordings Release: 2008 Genre: Thrash Reviewer: Grim Gaijin
Epic metal masterpiece
When the opportunity arose for me to review the latest Lair of the Minotaur release, the thing that drew me in the most was that they are a part of Southern Lord Recordings. With their massive catalog of some of the heaviest material ever recorded, Southern Lord has quickly become one of my top 3 favorite record companies. Having never heard Lair Of The Minotaur before, I knew I was in for a treat of some of the heaviest metal around. However, what I did not know was that LOTM is an extremely aggressive thrash metal band, leading to a new metal sub-genre known as Aggro-Thrash. Imagine if the thunderous sounds of Neurosis, the manic riffs of early Celtic Frost & Voivod, and the intensity of Goatwhore collided into a massive wall of sound. What you would come up with is the third album by LOTM--War Metal Battle Master. I don't know how I let this one slip by me in 2008, otherwise it would have been in my top 5 list of metal albums for that year.
Wasting no time, Lord of Undead Vengeance is a relentless track of brutal riffs, pounding drums and sick vocals. Next comes War Metal Battle Master with a very thick sound and blackened death style vocals. Continuing the mayhem, When The Ice Giants Slayed All starts off with a crust core-like intro which eventually shapes into a South of Heaven-era Slayer guitar riff. Although at a slower pace than the previous tracks, it is no less intense and brutal. The next song, Slaughter the Bestial Legion, has a classic 80's thrash attack sound with more sick vokills. The next song, Black Viper Barbarian Clan, could probably have Fenriz & Nocturno Culto (of Darkthrone) thrashing around violently in their recording studio. One of the fastest tracks on the CD, it shows a good mix of Black Metal and Sludge Metal in just a little over 3 minutes. Assassins Of The Cursed Mist sounds like it could be off of a Kreator album. Doomtrooper, at just under 10 minutes, is an epic track of brutal, doom-like riffs that would make the members of Crowbar jealous (for not coming up with them first), and extremely sick (and low key) death metal vocals. Homage to Celtic Frost can easily be heard in this song. The final song, Hades Unleashed, is one of the fastest and heaviest songs on the album. With Deicide-like riffs and headache-intense drumming, Hades Unleashed completes the statement that Lair Of The Minotaur successfully achieved on this album--creating a crushingly aggressive thrash metal album that will not be easily forgotten.
Southern Lord continue to push the boundaries of extreme music by releasing some of the most intense albums ever made. Lair of the Minotaur definitely makes sure of that with their epic metal masterpiece, War Metal Battle Master. Whether you're a fan of Southern Lord Recordings or not, War Metal Battle Master is an album that can be enjoyed by fans of genres of metal. I can only imagine what these guys are like live. If it is anything like their studio releases, no one is safe! Check them out now!
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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