MASTER'S HAMMER

Black Metal / Symphonic Black Metal / Metal Related • Czech Republic
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Master's Hammer are an occult black metal band from the Czech Republic, founded by Franta Storm. They were founded in 1983 and produced several demos, before releasing their debut album Ritual in 1991. Two years later they completed an operetta titled Jilemnice Occultist (often misspelt as Filemnice Occultist due to a typo on the booklet). Their 1995 album Šlágry was a drift away from the previous work incorporating many styles outside the metal genre. All of their lyrics are written in the Czech language. After a long hiatus, the band has reformed. The new album Mantras was released in late 2009.

Discography The Ritual Murder (demo, 1987) Finished (demo, 1988) The Mass (demo,1989) Live in Zbraslav 18.5.1989 (1989) The Fall of Idol (demo, 1990) Ritual (CD, 1990) Klavierstück (EP, 1991) Jilemnický okultista (demo,1992) Jilemnice Occultist (CD, 1992) Šlágry (CD,
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Osmose Productions 2009
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Osmose Productions 2013
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MASTER'S HAMMER Discography

MASTER'S HAMMER albums / top albums

MASTER'S HAMMER Rituál album cover 4.56 | 7 ratings
Rituál
Black Metal 1990
MASTER'S HAMMER The Jilemnice Occultist album cover 4.53 | 6 ratings
The Jilemnice Occultist
Symphonic Black Metal 1992
MASTER'S HAMMER Slágry album cover 0.50 | 1 ratings
Slágry
Metal Related 1995
MASTER'S HAMMER Mantras album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Mantras
Black Metal 2009
MASTER'S HAMMER Vracejte Konve Na Misto album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Vracejte Konve Na Misto
Black Metal 2012
MASTER'S HAMMER Vagus Vetus album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Vagus Vetus
Black Metal 2014
MASTER'S HAMMER Formulæ album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Formulæ
Black Metal 2016
MASTER'S HAMMER Fascinator album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fascinator
Black Metal 2018

MASTER'S HAMMER EPs & splits

MASTER'S HAMMER Klavierstuck album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Klavierstuck
Black Metal 1992

MASTER'S HAMMER live albums

MASTER'S HAMMER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MASTER'S HAMMER re-issues & compilations

MASTER'S HAMMER Ritual / Jilemnicky Okultista album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ritual / Jilemnicky Okultista
Black Metal 2001

MASTER'S HAMMER singles (0)

MASTER'S HAMMER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

MASTER'S HAMMER Reviews

MASTER'S HAMMER The Jilemnice Occultist

Album · 1992 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Warthur
Master's Hammer's followup to Ritual is somewhat more experimental than its predecessor, and in particular attempts to present a full concept album narrative. Although the vocals are delivered in Bathory-inspired shrieks, the actual plot is less overtly SATAN SATAN SATAN RAAAAGH than much black metal of its era and is actually an unusually subtle story for concept albums in general, in keeping with the band's focusing on their more technical and progressive side this time around - in particular, keyboards and synthesisers are mildly more prominent this time around. At points, the album provides a clear precedent for symphonic black metal to come; at other points, Master's Hammer put forth ideas about the incorporation of keyboards into black metal which nobody else seems to have repeated. On the whole, it's definitely a groundbreaking album which for the most part is very strong, but it doesn't quite have the start-to-finish consistency that Ritual did.

MASTER'S HAMMER Rituál

Album · 1990 · Black Metal
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Warthur
Ritual's debut album offers a sound which wavers between Bathory-esque thrashy early black metal and the matured black metal sound of the Norwegian wave. Recorded at the tail end of 1990, it's ample proof that when people list the names of black metal's innovators, Master's Hammmer have been left off all too often. Even if they did have some influence from the Norwegian crowd - I believe Mayhem were touring with Dead at around this point - the band's mastery of the second wave black metal style this early on is incredibly impressive, as is their bold inclusion of subtle technical and progressive elements to their compositions. It seems that no sooner have they mastered the stripped down and raw style of second wave black metal that they've taken it further, offering an early model for the more technically polished side of the genre. It's an incredible album and it doesn't deserve the obscurity it's languished in for so long.

MASTER'S HAMMER The Jilemnice Occultist

Album · 1992 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Conor Fynes
'The Jilemnice Occultist' - Master's Hammer (10/10)

The black metal 'golden age' of the early 1990's seems to almost exclusively inspire fans to think of Norway, with particular regards to the whole 'murder, church-burning, suicide' game of musical chairs that made the genre a seasonal favourite for media sensationalists, and a mark of concert for conservative Christian mothers worldwide. Of course, the appeal and mystique of black metal was by no means limited to Northern Europe, and as some might argue, it wasn't even the place where the best music was being made. Cut to what is now known as the Czech Republic; a band called MASTER'S HAMMER recorded their debut 'Ritual' in 1991, creating some well-deserved praise for a band that was doing some fairly sophisticated things with the then-youthful genre. By the next year however, much attention in black metal had scopes on Norway. Although 'The Jilemnice Occultist' (or 'Jilemnicky Okultista' in the original Czech) did not receive the degree of recognition and awe that it deserved, MASTER'S HAMMER took the style of black metal into progressive depths then yet unexplored by any others. 'The Jilemnice Occultist' is arguably the most accomplished black metal of its period, and even today holds the title for one of the most effective uses of keyboards in the style.

The band find their sound rooted in a meeting between thick VENOM sounding riffs, theatrical vocal work, and symphonic flourishes that many have tried to emulate, but none have managed to execute as well. The edge of the keyboards never attempts to mimic a full orchestra- something often doomed to fail within the context of a limited budget- instead, the keyboards are either used to provide spooky piano rolls over the guitars, or back up the guitars themselves to flesh out the rhythm. In taking their moderated approach with the keyboards, MASTER'S HAMMER evade the greatest fault I find with much symphonic metal, in that the keyboards will too often weaken the intensity of the guitar. Vlasta Voral's keyboard work is among the most distinctive aspects of the album however, and while it is primarily aimed to support the guitars, it adds a wholly new melodic dimension to the music that actually compliments the spooky occult atmosphere of the album. MASTER'S HAMMER's sound is incredibly vast for a black metal album released in this era, with the recording's only blight being the fairly weak sound of Mirek Valenta's drum kit. The musicianship itself is without weakness across the board, and though the songs themselves may not be as distinguishable as they are on MAYHEM's 'De Mysteriis,,,' record (this period's go-to black metal masterpiece) the songwriting on 'The Jilemnice Occultist' is remarkably consistent, although the second track 'Among The Hills, A Winding Way' may be my favourite cut off the record.

MASTER'S HAMMER hold alot of 'firsts' in black metal with 'The Jilemnice Occultist'. Most notably, this is the first time a black metal record was ever tied together with a storyline. Similar to KING DIAMOND's penchant for horror storytelling, the album has a plot where dark magic takes the centerstage, creating a complex tale that would not look out of place in Gothic horror canon. For better and worse, the lyrics are all rasped in the native Czech tongue, meaning that many English-inclined won't get to experience the storyline firsthand. Although this leaves many listeners to explore the storyline through online summaries and booklets, the phonetics of the Czech language sound absolutely diabolical when sung by Franta Storm. Although he already took his place as one of my favourite and most distinctive black metal vocalists with his powerful rasp on 'Ritual', 'The Jilemnice Occultist' has his vocals go wild, running from his traditionally dramatic and high-energy performance to griefridden sprechsegang that sometimes sounds like it could be Gollum shrieking. His very distinctive style may have some questioning whether they love it or hate it, but I can mention few black metal frontmen with such an eerie sound to their vocals.

The fuzzy classic metal riffs, ingenious symphonic touch and undeniable vocal brilliance of the band's frontman make 'The Jilemnice Occultist' still one of the greatest black metal albums even today. The band's debut had much of this same charm and occult atmosphere to it, but MASTER'S HAMMER's experimental risk here pays off in full. While the folks in Norway may have outshadowed the rest of the world with their antics, MASTER'S HAMMER matured the sound of black metal here to such an extent, that it would take other bands nary half a decade to catch up to them. A virtually flawless record.

MASTER'S HAMMER Rituál

Album · 1990 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Ritual' - Master's Hammer (8/10)

Although black metal is thought to have been largely pioneered in Scandinavia, the truth is that there were bands from all over the world that were jumping on around the same time, and in some cases, doing even better things than their Norwegian counterparts. Master's Hammer is one such act, originating from the then-recently communistic Czechoslovakia. Their debut album 'Ritual' is a record that is heavy on Bathory-esque riffs and atmosphere, a late addition to the first wave of black metal, but a very strong one all the same.

The lyrics here are growled and rasped in Czech; Storm is a frontman who aligns himself with the traditional black metal style of vocals, but his delivery if somewhat more decipherable than other bands whose voicework sounded closer to a garble. The fact that an English-speaking person such as myself still cannot understand what he is actually saying makes the language really haunting. Master's Hammer is built around buzzy guitars, punkish drums, and a somewhat more bass-heavy sound that the Norwegian black metal. All the same, the influence of early Bathory is very evident in what the band is doing here, with some sounds of raw thrash blending in with the black metal direction that the band was taking.

On top of the straightforward guitar work and drums, Master's Hammer makes great use of symphonic keyboard elements, using a choir synth to accentuate some of the more atmospheric moments on this album. Need I say that this was a pretty inventive thing to do in black metal at the time, and the band pulls it off very well; it is interesting to hear something so smooth pressed up against the angry-sounding metal sound that the band has for themselves here. The album rarely lets up its thrashy pace, but there are some good guitar parts here where they absolve the straightforward nature and pull off some surprisingly technical and dissonant leads.

'Ritual' is an essential album for the raw sound of black metal's first wave, and even ahead of its time, when compared to their generally less-mature contemporaries. Master's Hammer would only get better with their classic 'Jilemnicky Okultista', but this debut on its own distinguishes them in the early black metal scene.

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