December 20, 2013 | , | 4.25

Master, The Witchhunt

Master: The Witchhunt

I’ve been a big fan of what Master have been spewing forth the last few years. Paul Speckmann’s slurred, deranged vocal delivery has always been recognizable and and one that I look forward to hearing on each of the band’s (or any number of his other endeavors) releases. The Witchhunt carries a familiar sound that is wholly Master’s and with so many bands trying to outdo one another, this release couldn’t have been better timed.

I don’t have a problem with change — it’s inevitable. But when it comes to favorite bands I honestly don’t want to see too much progression in their sound. I like knowing that I can pick up any release in a group’s discography and at least expect music that falls along the same fault line as the other albums. And that’s exactly what Speckmann and crew (Zden?k Pradlovský on drums and guitarist Alex Nejezchleba) have accomplished with the 12th album in a long line of killer material.

The title track kicks things with a rabid attack of driving guitars and a severely barbaric pounding on the drums. These guys mean business and the music on this album is a direct reflection of their intentions. There’s a renewed sense of urgency here, as well, that pushes you forward aggressively. The blasting at around 2:45 will have heads whipping about violently for sure. “Plans of Hate” carries one hell of a thrashing attack to the searing riff work as well as a touch of dark melody as the guys pile-drive their way through the song. Man, this opening duo of songs is absolutely killer. A bit of Slayer leaks into “Another Suicide” and it’s rabid delivery.

“Waiting to Die” sees Pradlovský become absolutely unhinged at his drumkit (around the 4:12 mark) while Speckmann and Nejezchleba do their damnedest to keep up. It’s certainly a defining moment on an album that absolutely slays and serves as my favorite two minutes or so on the entire album. Holy Fuck! “The Parable” keeps the blood boiling and flowing violently through your veins with an amped up, thrashing death attack. “God of Thunder” ain’t your mom’s KISS variety. This is an original song that aptly describes the rumbling malevolence that this songs carries with it. It’s a powerful, driving and weighty track with one hell of a head-snapping groove.

Master are full-tilt on “Remove the Clowns” as this politically charged — hell, all of the songs are politically fueled — shifts to a relatively slower pace when compared to the rest of the album. “Raise Your Sword” burns along with a smoldering, slow moving and as straightforward death metal as these guys can get. “Wipe Out the Aggressor” carries us violently forward to a pair of songs that wrap up The Witchhunt nicely.

At over six minutes in length, “Manipulated to Exterminate” is by far the longest on the album as it builds smoothly with memorable guitar work and varied tempos. It’s probably the most dynamically presented song on the album. “The American Dream” starts off with buzzing bass and a catchy rhythm before it launches into a driving gallop. The song isn’t nearly as violent or as dense as some of the material presented here, but it’s still pretty damn infectious and carries a solid, chugging groove though to the end.

Speckmann and Master have not only kept true to themselves and their fans, but have also delivered one hell of an album with The Witchhunt. Fueled by political unrest, each song is a beast all their own as the band trudges, stomps and steamrolls anything and anyone in their path from start to finish.