April 1, 2010 | | 4

Lair of the Minotaur, Evil Power

Lair of the Minotaur: Evil Power

Where War Metal Battle Master saw the band deftly wielding a blood and skull fragment bejeweled battle axe, Lair of the Minotaur‘s latest sludgy offering has the band hammering their brand of crusty thrash with some massive war hammer studded with a variety of nasty barbs and spikes. Evil Power is a solid, grimy bludgeoning if ever there was one, retaining that vibe one comes to expect from these dudes.

The album features a less urgent, but no less powerful delivery on the part of this Chicago triad of blood spilling heathens. There’s also a slightly heavier leaning towards death metal and a touch of a grind-like aspect added to the band’s repertoire this time around. Thicker-than-all-get-out guitars are smeared with plenty of sludgy textures and a static similar to the likes of Unleashed in their overall feel and tone. The rhythm section is still on top of their game, as well, laying down burly bass lines and barbaric drum work. This is one of those albums that you jack up to 11, grab something heavy and beat the shit out of everything in sight.

Attack The Gods
“Attack The Gods” is a chock full of memorable, burly riffs and bruising rhythms that definitely does the job setting the tone for the rest of the album. The pace isn’t nearly as up-tempo as the previous album, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound heavier. The thick groove working its way through this song is head banging fun.

Let’s Kill These Motherfuckers
Man, this song kills it! A memorable opening bit of drums and reverb introduce the gruff main vocals as the riffing sits in the background temporarily. Once this one gets going you’ll be shouting along with the band almost immediately. It’s a raucous song packed full with mayhem and vengeance. I’m loving it!

Riders Of Skullhammer, We Ride The Night
This sub two minute track is a riotous, growl along with song that’s pure, unadulterated bruising destruction. It’s got a catchy groove and vibe as the dual vocals delivery layer shouts, growls and screams on top of one another to great effect. The song is over before you know it.

Evil Power
The bass throughout the title track must be channeling some evil power. There’s no bottom end to the thickness that it contributes to this song. The chugging mosh that accompanies the chorus on this one is massive and sure to have a few folks in a supportive collars for a variety of neck sprains. Damn!

“Goatstorm,” huh? I was always under the assumption it rained cats and dogs. Goats are a new one to me. At any rate, this is a burly song with a grinding vibe and thick rhythms. The vocals on this short track are definitely on the death metal edge of things with more guttural growls and screams. This is a dark, violent song.

Hunt And Devour
As the shortest track on the album, “Hunt and Devour” has a lot to do to match the ferocity and burly nature of the longer songs. Luckily, it’s up to the task with catchy guitar work, aggressive vocals and plenty of swampy tones. This is a bad ass song for sure.

Metal Titans
The opening sound clip sounds like it should be in a Conan movie intro or something. It’s short lived and quickly succombs to the plunding and raiding guitars and rhythms that carry this song along at a pretty brisk pace. These dudes certainly know how to lay down a thick, sludgy groove amongst their thrashing destruction.

Blood From The Witch’s Vein
I love the opening guitar work to this next one. It’s memorable, a bit on the catchy side, yet still pretty damned evil. The quicker tempo to the song helps push it along and breaks it from the slower, thicker tones of the previous tracks. The layered guttural growls add a nice depth to the vocal delivery, as well.

We Are Hades
Violent, evil and malevolent, “We Are Hades” is one hell of a song. It’s got some serious swampy grooves flowing under the textured guitars and bruising rhythms. This one sounds like it was pulled right from the band’s last album — it’s a bit more up tempo and has a slightly brighter tone to it that matches some of that material. At any rate, it’s a bad ass song.

Death March Of The Conquerors
A small bit of dramatic sound effects open up this next song, covering the first 30 seconds or so before some massive riffs and a spoken, gruff delivery comes in. The first half of this song is interesting and a bit theatrical, but it’s the second half of the song that really makes it. The huge, swampy riffs and slow pace make for a massive sound that begs to be played as loud as possible. In fact, I think that’s what I’ll do — let’s hope I don’t blow these speaker or piss off the wife too badly.

The Violent Iron Age Of Man
The final song is a relatively slow moving monster with big, sludgy guitars and a restrained vocal delivery that’s broken up by some seriously hellish screams. It doesn’t quite pack the same wallop that the rest of the album does, but it’s damned heavy nonetheless.

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Additional Notes:
Released on band members’ new label and distributed by Southern Lord Records.