LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR — Carnage (review)

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR — Carnage album cover Album · 2004 · Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Carnage" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Chicago based metal act Lair of the Minotaur. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in August 2004. Lair of the Minotaur was formed in the spring of 2003 by vocalist/guitarist Steven Rathbone. Rathbone enlisted drummer Larry Herweg (Tusk, Pelican) and bassist Donald James (7000 Dying Rats, to complete the three-piece lineup.

Stylistically the material on the 8 track, 37:02 minutes long album is a raw, organic, and mean type of heavy metal drawing influences from both traditional heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, and blackened sludge. It´s loud, distorted, and filthy, and right from the opening blast beats of opening track "Carnage Fucking Carnage" you sense that Lair of the Minotaur are not the type of act to take prisoners. And just to make things clear, there aren´t many blast beats on "Carnage", it just feels very appropriate that the album opens with a blast beat section, given the raw and filthy nature of the rest of the material featured on the album.

The performances on the album are intense and delivered with the right amount of skill and aggression. It all sounds very convincing and it´s hard not to be sucked in by the crushingly heavy rhythms, primal raw vocal aggression, and the organic yet tight riffs. While the tempo is mostly mid-paced, there are both faster parts (like the above mentioned blast beat section), and parts where the band take it down to a doomy blackened sludge pace. So it´s actually not music which is easy to describe as it features elements from many musical styles. Lair of the Minotaur are an act who can handle the many different influences though, and they succeed in putting all those influences into their own musical style with what seems like a natural ease. It doesn´t sound forced in any way and it´s definitely one of their greatest strengths.

Highlights on the album include "The Wolf" and the closing ultra heavy "Burning Temple", but all tracks on the album are of high quality, and "Carnage" is just overall an enjoyable listen. The raw, distorted, and filthy sounding production suits the material perfectly and it´s one of those cases where the music and the production values are in symbiose. One wouldn´t be as great as it is without the other. So upon conclusion "Carnage" is a high quality debut album by Lair of the Minotaur. I´m not so sure I would call the music particularly original sounding or unique, but there is a determination behind the delivery and what seems to the a very clear vision of direction, which is always admirable when we´re dealing with a debut release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
3 days ago
I think this one is their best, as my soon to be posted reviews of the rest of their discography will also show. I love the raw and crushingly heavy sound of this album. Primal...savage energy but still clever...
siLLy puPPy wrote:
3 days ago
I love this one. Doesn't seem to get a lot of love out there though.

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