MetalBite Review by Chris Pratl on 6/27/2018 6:55:07 PM
It’s sort of hard to believe that Master has been around for 20-years now. I remember seeing these guys at nearly every club in Chicago back in the day, and front-man Paul Speckman and crew seldom disappointed. The discography is an impressive collective of honest, brutal death metal that is straight from the book of said genre. From 2000 to 2005 Master has produced a solid release every single year, so they’ve never gone away and have only gotten more brutal with age.
The latest effort, The Human Machine, is a mild kick in the chest void of subtlety or reserve. It’s well-produced, fast-paced death metal that has a technical side emanating from it, quite polished I might add. Maturity through death metal often means a band either waters down its style and subject matter in accordance to some imaginary borders or they manage to progress from the roots and grow from within. Master has managed to grow without letting up. Chuck Schuldiner’s Death comes to mind if pressed for a viable comparison. From Scream Bloody Gore in 1987 to Sounds of Perseverance in 1998 is an amazing example of how maturity in death metal doesn’t mean dumbing-down the music or selling out the ideal. In fact, Master’s The Human Machine could stand up well against death album from the past year or so. It’s both viable and stirs the senses.
The songs are typically Master: free-thought-promoting, sensible dirges, and violent reactions to all things inane or unjust. In the long lineage that is Master’s discography, the ever constant theme is subjugation, be it internal, mental or governmental. “Supress Free Thinking” from the CD is a full-on bitch-fest about losing the ability to think for one’s self. Speckman’s vocals are so reminiscent to Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost it’s haunting. His influences show throughout the CD, as does the proficiency of the band he’s assembled with Alex Nejezchleba on guitars and Zdenek Pradlovsky drumming. The trio is amazingly talented and produces through a mere trio what some bands can’t accomplish with five members.
Heavy metal has always prided itself on being cerebral, thought-provoking music, insisting that one thinks outside the proverbial box and finds answers not always conducive to popular collective thought. Master accomplishes this through the barrage of heaviness that could crush a Sherman tank. Especially evident on the track “A Replica of Invention,” the headbang-inducing track gets under your skin and provides an additional outlet for suppressed rage and strife that might be lingering inside somewhere.
From start to finish, The Human Machine is a death metal lesson in coloring outside the lines. This is the way death metal should be presented: fast, thought-provoking and legible. Another fine release from a vastly underrated band is ready for ingestion.
Rating: 8 out of 10
(Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com)