Company: Southern Lord Release: 2008 Reviewer: Raising Iron Genre: Thrash
If you need a fast, thrashed fix, then this will definitely polish your sword
Lair of the Minotaur are back with their third full-frontal attack, "War Metal Battle Master". Hailing and hollering from Chicago, these boys have willingly and gladly sat right down on the blood-drenched, thrash-blackened throne that Usurper have left vacant. This is good, for metal needs these kinds of underground bands, who take up residence off metal's beaten trails, waiting for those adventurers daring enough to veer off into the darkened forests in search of more vicious, bestial encounters.
For those of you unfamiliar with Lair of the Minotaur's sound, their concoction consists of raw meat from Slayer's old stable, veggies out of Celtic Frost's garden, charred hors d'oeuvres ala Venom, and salt and pepper off Black Sabbath's shelf. This is the kind of sustenance one needs to battle hordes of undead, go hilt to hilt with orcs, and slay serpents on the keep of the borderlands. On the very first track, our warriors come barreling down the mountainside with a ton of soiled riffs in tow, never relenting until the 40 minutes of bloodshed is over.
In case you haven't gathered, LOTM's lyrics are medieval, fantasy based, D&D oriented all the way. Just check out some of the song titles: "Black Viper Barbarian Clan", "When the Ice Giants Slayed All", "Assassins of the Cursed Mist", etc. Now, I know there are a lot of metal fans who are immediately turned off by this notion, regardless the genre, their reasoning being that singing about slaying dragons is deemed cheesy, childish, and stupidly macho. I guess you'd have to have been weaned on role-playing games back in their heyday to enjoy these kinds of tales. But lyrics aside, let's get to what really matters, the music. The guitar tones are thicker than a red dragon's hide, and the production is as raw and meaty as its dinner. Speed is the name of the game on just about every song, save for the second to last number, "Doomtrooper", which is a strung-out, bogged down, doomed beast of a track.
The album, thankfully, is fairly short, coming in at just under forty minutes. Ten of which are taken up by the aforementioned "Doomtrooper", leaving a mere browbeating half-hour left. Getting bludgeoned upside the head with this mace any longer would just be too much anyway. The constant assault borders on monotony, but the album's brevity keeps things from getting stale, and we all need a jolt like this every now and then when the mood is right.
In closing, if castle lyrics bother you, don't even take off the wrapper. If lyrics are of less importance to you or you like songs about the dark ages, and you seriously need a fast, thrashed fix, then "War Metal Battle Master" will definitely polish your sword.
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