Master: The New Elite

Death metal veterans show no sign of letting up

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Much has been made – not entirely unfairly – of Master’s seminal nature and their overlooked contributions to the early death metal scene, to the extent that it’s easy to only think of the group in terms of past glories.

Now on their 11th full-length, bassist/vocalist Paul Speckmann and co are clearly going nowhere and have certainly had time to hone their assault, a point that The New Elite ably demonstrates.

Created as a trio, the album feels completely organic – even live – but is tight and focused, the songs built around catchy riffs and combustive leads, all underpinned by upbeat, punk/hardcore-orientated drum work and Speckmann’s somewhat deranged, almost vomitous vocals. There’s no attempt at atmosphere or experimentation, but then when the songs are this explosive and adrenaline-pumping there’s really no need.

Though labelled death metal, this has nothing to do with modern technical death metal and aptly harks back to the early days of the genre, taking cues from the likes of early Death and Autopsy, with a considerable degree of hardcore/crust also residing within the compositions. Unpolished and unfussy, this deserves some of your time.