ALBUM REVIEW: Master – Vindictive Miscreant

Review number 3 of the day, legendary Death Metallers MASTER have a new album coming out via Transcending Obscurity records on the 28th November, this is one I have been very excited to review! I must add Transcending Obscurity have been doing great work this year (especially the new albums from CRAWL and DE PROFUNDIS, really good stuff, plus much more too)!

01. Vindictive Miscreant opens with the album title being yelled, awesome touch followed up by some killer blast beats, tremolo riffing madness and absolutely wicked bass lines! The vocals have the awesome Obituary style snarl to them but with added guttural approach, they sound so brutal. The track packs a really strong punch and is just a killer opening song. Great to see such legends have not lost their touch over their long career. The chorus section has a really catchy feel to it that you can certainly shout along to live. The guitar solo is quite minimalist for a Death Metal band on the most part but is very melodic and well played, a lovely touch for certain. I have to say the mix is perfect here, the bass thundering along and perfectly audible next to the blast beats, growls and guitar work, altogether very right and forcefully produced.
02. Actions Speak Louder Than Words follows on very nicely with more Morbid Angel style riffing, well punctuated riffs and drums and more hideous vocals. The flow is perfected both between individual tracks and within the songs themselves, transitioning between sections very nicely. The classic Death Metal feel of the music seems so genuine, even with modern production it feels like an album we are already familiar with whilst also being completely new and original material. This song is a perfect circle pit anthem. The use of an extremely groovy breakdown just adds so much ferocity to the track, loved this one. The ending is super cool too with the outro feeling almost like a Death song.
03. Replaced crashes into existence with some furious drumming, furthered tremolo guitar riff mania and more gruesome vocals. The music is certainly consistent, although still quite early in the album, showing that it may well stick to a single formula. Having said that it may not have caught me off guard anywhere, but the formula certainly works for the band as it has done throughout their lengthy career. The more bluesy guitar solo works really well against the more drudging background, dropping back into verse gloriously. Killer track.
04. The Inner Strength Of The Demon slows the pace, going into more of a crawl, with some lovely lead work adding to things beautifully. The more old school Heavy Metal feel to the ensuing riffs is really cool, I am happy to see a chance in pace too, I like a release to keep me on my toes. This march of the track is really captivating, kicking the chaos levels back up, but with a gradual incline rather than a straight off blast from the off. I really like this song and how it uses slightly more of slow burn build and more galloping riffs. This is real Death Metal, in its primal and untampered with format, a pure sound full of all the elements we love (thick bass, crunchy guitars, melodic solos with some whammy fury, gory vocals and blasted upbeat drums), absolutely amazing song, by far the best yet and it incorporates sludgier stylisation in parts very nicely! The vocals too are definitely at their best with such a tormented snarl to them in this song, wonderful!
05. The Book punches us with a few bars of single power chord hits, before speeding once more into frantic tremolos and more amazing classic Death Metal songwriting. This album has both felt like a real blast from the bast throughout and also something modern and original. I really like the more thrashy parts that appear in this song, further diversifying it and then the way it drops into slower sections contrasts beautifully. Obituary fans are sure to absolutely love this track! Around the halfway mark the more upbeat pace change adds an excellent bridge before descending into anarchy once more this time accompanied by more brilliant lead guitar work, choosing melody over speed.
06. Engulfed In Paranoia seems to use more Stoner Metal riffs that I certainly didn’t expect, although the disemboweled vocals, blast beats and hyper speeds soon return and the song seems to ebb and flow between the two styles very nicely. There is a good contrast and mood created and a really dismal feel too, great stuff. I enjoyed the use of more variation in this song and it would be cool to see more of it, but I appreciated its presence all the same. The snare drum build up is so rock n roll, that was an awesome little nuance upping the anti into more cheerful pacing but with a continual morbid edge to it added by the vocals. There is an apparent influence of more punk stuff on this track that works really well and has a very unique feel to it. Absolutely wicked guitar solo that also felt very punky, I really enjoyed that! The song also incorporates more old school Thrash Metal riffs into the mix too, very welcome addition to the already pretty in your face album. This song along with the 4th really stand out to me as the best thus far, so although I think the whole release is really solid, if you want a sample, those are the 2 songs I would suggest.
07. The Impossible Of Dreams enters in true Death Metal style with slower riffs, absolutely fantastic vocals and more simplistic drums but with the feel that it is really building to something awesome. This track has a really nice groove to it that draws me in a lot, excellent songwriting and musicianship is definitely well represented. The guitar leads add a really nice flourish to the piece, and the drum fulls are really gnarly. The thrashy speeds soon kick in and that feeling of building to something, well that something is here in the form of more absolutely furious Death Metal with some stunning bass work that really shines through the mix! This song is pummelling and pounding through with such high velocity that you can’t help but bang your head to it, the riffs are so tight and catchy and everything just falls into place so nicely. The guitar solos nearer the end are absolutely great too with a really punchy ending.
08. Stand Up And Be Counted brings the end into our sights. It starts off with some excellent drumming and bass playing, joined shortly after by groovy guitars and a really cool old school feel once more. The really strong feel of Death’s music on this song is awesome, almost familiar. I love the bass solos, something not enough bands use I think. The sampling adds a real nice touch and flows perfectly into the really simple yet groovy guitar solo. The momentum throughout has been incredibly full of strength and force and shows little sign of ending at all, I have to respect that. The pummelling drums are really precise and everything just feels so organic and natural in how it is written and presented. An awesome closing piece that gives us one last round of fury rather than trying to ease things out. Damn brutal too.

The Czech Republic Death Metal legends have returned on great form. With an album that drags you though hell with its morbid and macabre grinding sounds. An excellent new release, showing with time they have not lost their touch at all! The only thing that draws it slightly back for me is I think there could have been more variation between songs but all the same I really enjoyed it, a modern yet classic Death Metal release with some impressive songwriting!  -8/10

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