LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR is a thrashy sludge metal band from Chicago, USA formed by vocalist / guitarist Steven Rathbone in 2003 after jumping ship from his previous band 7000 Dying Rats. He recruited fellow bandmate Donald James Barraca and his friend Larry Herwig, formerly of Pelican on drums. After a self-produced 6-track debut EP released in 2003, they managed to score a deal with Southern Lord Records and released their debut album CARNAGE in 2004.
Although this band isn't breaking any new grounds this debut album has a nice traditional sludge / thrash with a doom feel to it backed up by some seriously good musicianship. I have to say that this album is a really good listen. It reminisces a bit of Mastodon, Neurosis and other sludgies with a sensible mix of thrash influences like a Metallica riff or gallop here and there. The two styles are equally distributed throughout the album making it feel like a well-balanced aggressive assault. The production is a nice dirty well mixed fuzz that adds to the overall atmosphere. Clocking in at 37:02 it seems like just the right length where the album packs a satisfying punch and then ends before it outstays its welcome.