What came first the Death or the Black? And other age old Metal questions with variable answers that have no doubt caused a riot of arguments across internet forums over the years. Yet it is to Death Metal we look today and some very classic roots, a band who were perhaps one of the very first that crossed the bridge between Thrash and Death Metal. Being such a godfather of extremity can have its downsides though. You will forever be looked upon with prying eyes and hailed as some sort of titan with the power to renew the foundations which you dug long ago.

The classic band we speak of is none other than the formidable Master. Headed up by the legendary Paul Speckmann, Master have rather quietly rumbled away in the underground ever since their inception way back in 1983. After their beginnings and their 1985 rehearsal demo they unleashed their self-titled debut upon the world. This has since become along with On The Seventh Day God Created… Master an underground Death Metal classic. Aside from these early Death/ Thrash roots Master have stayed strong and now in 2018 through Transcending Obscurity Records they unleash Vindictive Miscreant.

With the venomous flare of John Tardy meets Cronos Paul Speckmann vomits forth the entrance and opening lyrics to the titular track. This opens the gates to a Thrash, Punk flavoured Death Metal sound that is both catchy and extreme. A fantastical start that perhaps uses all of the bands power all too soon. The Thrash drenched riffs and Extreme Metal drumming remain consistent throughout but the memorability slips fairly quickly. Leaving us with little more than a decent sounding record and not something which leaps into our ears with the touch you might expect from such a seasoned band.

I will attest that the album does have its memorable moments in tracks like The Inner Strength Of The Demon and The Book but all in all the album is a bit of a drag. Master seem to suffer from the issue of delivering consistent yet tried material. Whilst the sound is fantastic the staying power lacks, taking a look to the likes of Cannibal Corpse the formula of a never-changing sound can work and often offer up a heap of new material for fans to get their teeth into. Do Master command this respect though, I feel the answer is no, I am by no means condemning this release however, after all its crusty, muddy tone is marvellously pure and true to Old School Death Metal.

So to conclude Vindictive Miscreant is exactly what you might expect, another Master album. So if you’re a long standing fan of the band this album will no doubt give you exactly what you want. However for the more casual fan this album is less than captivating, it would perhaps even make some question why Master are so worshipped. Yet to that I argue listen to the first two releases, these are mighty slabs of Death Metal purity solidify Master’s place in the halls of Extreme Metal’s history.

(6/10 George Caley)