I have said it before. Perhaps a thousand times. 2018 is the year of death metal. There isn’t a single subgenre in the metal universe that has produced as much quality material as death metal has. Every single branch of the death metal tree is teeming with excellence in a year that has overall been very good for new music, making its ridiculous amount of exceptional releases all the more impressive. It’s a good time to be a death metal fan, especially if the old school variety is your jam. Master are definitely a band that fits that old school description. Hailing from the Czech Republic via Chicago, Illinois, Master has been active in the death and thrash metal scenes since the mid-1980s, releasing several classic records on their way to a legendary career. 2018 sees the band unleashing fresh hell upon us through their new record Vindictive Miscreant, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be premiering that album’s final track, “Stand Up and Be Counted”, exclusively here at Heavy Blog.
For those unfamiliar with Master, I’m so sorry. Now that we’ve taken care of that, Master are known for wielding a dual attack of death metal riffing and vocals with the often punk-ish rhythmic vibe of punk and thrash metal. It’s an absolutely ferocious mixture of styles and sounds that few bands have been able to pull of with the same level of verve and songwriting chops. Think Slayer and Motorhead mixed with the straightforward death metal stylings of an Obituary or Deicide. It’s a potent assault, and “Stand Up and Be Counted” is one of the best tracks on the album regarding the seamless interplay between these two styles of music. Kicking things off with a solid punk-infused drum sequence (performed ably here and throughout the record by Zdenek Pradlovsky), the track brings in some fantastic thrash and death metal riffing from Aleš Nejezchleba, whose guitar work is the centerpiece of the track, vacillating between lightning fast thrash and slower, more intense death metal riffing. All of this audio violence is held together by vocalist and bassist Paul Speckmann’s masterful performances on both counts, pulling the punk, death, and thrash elements together under a cohesive rhythm that keeps this runaway train firmly on the tracks. It’s here where we can highlight the fantastic production and mix on this release, allowing each instrument and performance (including the crunchy, nasty bass work) to be heard clearly and with power. It sounds great, but only really matters if the music it’s bringing to life is worthy of clarity, which is very much the case here. This track is several layers of excellent, and a welcome return to form for these thrash-centric death metal giants. To have a career spanning as long as Master’s has and still be able to churn out releases with this amount of kinetic energy and songwriting flair is a testament the the raw talent this band has cultivated for decades, culminating in one of their strongest releases to date.
If you’re in the mood to bang your head like a maniac, look no further than “Stand Up and Be Counted”. It’s an incredible track, performed by an equally incredible band, and stands out as one of the old school highlights in a year filled to the brim with them. Look for Vindictive Miscreant on November 28th through the unstoppable Transcending Obscurity Records, and pre-order it on the label’s Bandcamp page.