MASTER — The Witchhunt (review)

MASTER — The Witchhunt album cover Album · 2013 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"The Witchhunt" is the 12th full-length studio album by US/Czech Republic death metal act Master. The album was released through F.D.A. Rekotz in September 2013. Master and especially founder/singer/bassist Paul Speckmann are legendary on the death metal scene. They are often mentioned among the seminal US death metal acts even though Master´s debut album wasn´t released until 1990. Master was already formed in 1983 though. Changed name to Death Strike and then in 1985 changed the name back to Master. Master was signed by Combat Records and recorded an album in 1985, but it was shelved and not released back then (since 2003 it´s been available through Displeased Records as the "Unreleased 1985 album"). They are what you call a true cult band with a cult following.

Stylistically the music on "The Witchhunt" continues the old school death metal style with raw thrash metal leanings that the band have more or less played since day one. They were never the most distinct sounding nor the most interesting death metal act out there, but they sure deliver their music with both passion and conviction. If you like them raw and to the point "The Witchhunt" certainly applies. The band are relatively well playing and Paul Speckmann´s vocals are both brutal and aggressive. The music does become a bit one-dimensional after a while, but this is "by the book" old school death metal, so that´s to be expected. Songtitles like "Waiting to Die", "Plans of Hate" and "Manipulated to Exterminate" also point in a generic old school death metal direction. It should be mentioned that there has always been a political angle to the band´s lyrics, that not many death metal acts pursue, but the lyrics are not exactly genius in nature. The sound production is raw, powerful and generally suits the music well.

"The Witchhunt" may not be a death metal revelation and Master as such haven´t really done much to develop their sound in years, but that´s of little consequence when they deliver their music the way they do. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.
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