Lair of the Minotaur

Lair of the Minotaur

Lair of the Minotaur

War Metal Battle Master

Southern Lord

Not since Bolt Thrower has a band thrown themselves so wholeheartedly into a frothing berzerker rage hybrid of death metal and grindcore. Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur up the ante on Birmingham’s favorites more than a little, adding elements of black metal, Brutal Truth’s avant-atavism, and good ol’ fashioned sloppy thrash the way grandaddies like Sodom and Destruction bashed it out. In fact, for sheer inexorable forward motion, War Metal Battle Master is up there with Marduk’s Panzer Division Marduk and Watain. I love it.

War Metal Battle Master — choice song titles include “When the Ice Giants Slayed All,” “Black Viper Barbarian Clan,” and “Doomtrooper” — constantly offers up new “holy shit” moments at the conviction of the players or snatches of riffs and vamps that reference some classic obscurity or that take the album to a new level of gonzoid pop-eyed insanity. And it fucking swings too! The playing is loose-limbed and groovy — though caked with blood, offal, and spikes — with an ambient, lo-fi sound. Classic ENT-style twin vocals — that’s one low bellow/roar and the other a high raspy croak for the uninitiated — the guitars are a vomit of fuzztone and sharp elbows, while the rhythm section is ridiculously muscular, guiding the songs through increasingly hostile climes. Classic without being retro, new without being like doing homework or puzzling through schematics — Lair of the Minotaur are the roar echoing through Kenneth Anger’s head as he filmed Scorpio Rising.

Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com

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