MasterIt’s always nice to be trusted to review bands like Master.  To me at least, it means the opinion of this jaded 44 year old metal head is actually, maybe, worth a toss. That’s what I kid myself anyway. But regardless I always approach such revered and influential artist’s material with a bit of trepidation. I’ll play it to death before committing my thoughts and ramblings to paper (well… MS Word) because, well, if you’re reading this then you probably love real death metal as much as I do and I would not wanna steer you wrong.

So, Master then.  Chicago native’s been playing death fucking metal since 1983 when he was in War Cry  & later went on to form Death Strike. The guy literally sweats DM credibility having been there along with Chuck & Mantas as our favourite metal genre was taking its first (crippled & deformed) baby steps. Now, 26 years after the release of their debut we have Master’s thirteenth studio album ‘Epiphany Of Hate’ and to quote my favourite wrestling commentator, Jim Ross – it’s a slobberknocker!

The one thing you love about Master is that Paul has NEVER deviated from the path of death metal. He’s always kept the band loyal to its roots no matter what false, wanky trends have come and gone. That’s not to say the band haven’t evolved – far from it – but you’ll never put on a Master album and not get what you paid your money for.

From just a quick peek at the amazing Mark Cooper artwork you know this is gonna be a good record. It drips the same creepy nastiness that the sleeve art to ‘Altars Of Madness’ did. And as for the music itself? Well as stated – no frills, no fucking about, no noodling this is pure, aggressive, face removing death metal. From the frankly brilliant drumming from Zdenek Pradlovsky (seriously , a standout and really up front in the mix), Alex Nejezchelba’s tight as a mouse’s arse riffing,  to the best vocals Paul’s ever done – this is a quality record and one that all Master fans will dig.

Musically it’s one of the more ‘instant’ Master albums and it grabs you by the ‘nads from the furious opening of ‘Subdue The Politician’ and refuses to let go until the closing of ‘Red Alert’. There’s some real groove going on and coupled with the cracking production I reckon this is my favourite Master album since ‘On The Seventh Day…’  Every track is a good’un. Master have always had a bit of a punky tinge to their sound and the title track (and album centrepiece) exhibits that nicely as does ‘Senses All Will Be Controlled’.

Master deserves your respect (and cash) for producing a death metal record that after all this time proves they still have ‘it’ and are still relevant.

‘Epiphany Of Hate’ lays the smack down on Jan 29th. Get into FDA Rekotz for a copy – there’s some tasty coloured vinyl options too!

(8.0/10 Mark Eve)