Master - The New Elite (Pulverized Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[8/10] In life, there will always be crucial questions that will go unanswered throughout all eternity. One of those questions is how Master has been around for so long, has created so many simply badass records, yet never receives any recognition or accolades. It’s rare to find a Master album on one of the year-end top ten lists and though they’ve consistently released quality death metal every time out, they are one of the most overlooked bands in the history of metal.
It doesn’t make any sense because Master’s legacy in terms of crushing tunes speaks for itself and dwarfs many bands who’ve enjoyed ten times the success. Mastermind Paul Speckmann has always done what he’s wanted with Master, and that’s always to create his own style of death metal. He’s done it again with The New Elite, his main band’s 11th full-length studio release. And just as he and his bandmates have done on On the Seventh Day God Created… Master, Faith is in Season, Slaves to Society and the wicked demos from the 1980s, Master has created and released yet another monster of an album.
The traditional tempo changes are in toe and his unique gargling voice – where you can understand everything he says – in full force here. The drums and guitars aren’t overly technical like usual, and the typical death metal song structure is here in all its glory. The band keep a simple rhythm going with each song and since they never get too creative or travel down the oft-cheesy finesse route, the songs stick in one’s head like an arrow. While the eleven songs all tend to follow the same speed/tempo patterns, they never grow stale or wear out their welcome.
Without a filler song to be found on The New Elite, Master have turned in another fine performance. Each song is strong enough to stand on its own two feet, but the slower, churning heaviness and head-banging grooviness of “Redirect the Evil” is clearly the standout track of the lot.
Sound-wise, the drums are a tiny bit thin for our taste, though they aren’t that annoying polished “clicky” sounding drums that too many bands brandish these days. The guitars are fierce enough, though the overall final mix has taken away some of their bite, which is a very moderate drag considering how heavy these songs are. If the final wasn’t as clean and if the venom within the music was retained fully, it’d get another half point in the final grade. Still, it’s a minor, minor gripe for an otherwise Specktacular Master album.
Just add this one to the ever-growing pile of greatness that is Master’s entire discography…