DESULTOR — Masters of Hate (review)

DESULTOR — Masters of Hate album cover Album · 2012 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
With Masters of Hate, Swedish extreme metal duo Desultor has made a rather bold entrance into the scene. Unlike many of their fellow countrymen, Desultor does not rely much on old-school aesthetics or melodic overtones to get their point across, and instead the band takes a very modern approach to technical death/thrash and brings it into completely new territory. Masters of Hate is a very intense and demanding album, with its ferocious onslaughts of blast-beats and technical monstrosities hardly leaving the listener with any room to breathe, but the subtle incorporation of melody is what makes this different than many of their technical death/thrash contemporaries. Although Masters of Hate isn't always the most memorable album in my opinion, it's a refreshing change of pace from most of the extreme metal on the scene today.

Even though I will say that Desultor is a refreshing change of pace, that's not to say at all that they're radically different from many other technical death/thrash acts out there from a musical perspective - the riffs are brutal as anything, the compositions are complex, and the drumming is punishing and frantically technical. Where Masters of Hate really deviates from the tried-and-true technical thrash metal approach is in their vocal approach which, in addition to a few growled portions, is mainly cleanly sung and shouted vocals. The vocals sound straight out of the 'thrashy' power metal rulebook, and I actually like this vocal approach quite a bit. The production and playing styles may all point towards a modern-sounding album, but the vocals give a very old-school edge to Desultor's sound. I wish more bands would take this vocal approach rather than relying on indecipherable gutteral growls - it definitely does justice to Desultor's music.

Masters of Hate also contains quite a few really solid compositions ("The Luxury of Pain" and the title track both come to mind), but I would say that this is probably the album's weakest link. While this is an extremely intense listen, Desultor's songwriting doesn't leave enough of a lasting effect to keep me constantly coming back for more. This is a rather minor flaw, though, and it is a skill that hopefully Desultor will develop even more on future efforts. As far as Masters of Hate is concerned, this is an original observation from a group of impeccable musicians, and any fan of technical thrash metal is very much advised to check out what these Swedes have to offer.
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