Master's Call - Official Website - Interview

A Journey For The Damned

United Kingdom Country of Origin: United Kingdom

1. All Hope In Fire
2. Beyond The Gates
3. The Serpent's Rise
4. Blood On The Altar
5. Damnation's Black Winds
6. Into The Abyss Once More
7. Pathways

Review by Felix on January 21, 2024.

Necrophobic is a legend. Of course, I only have a limited musical cosmos, who can know and follow each and every interesting band on the planet called Earth? Anyway, from my point of view, the Scandinavian institution is an influence for some more or less new units that combine black and death metal. Some melodies and moods on A Journey For The Damned make me think of the Swedish quintet (whose advance tracks for their new album are less strong than hoped). But Master’s Call are not only familiar with Necrophobic. They like high intensity and sinister brutality is nothing they shy away from. If I had to recommend some bands for the similar artists list, I would select Craven Idol and Daeva. These hordes celebrate the same level of pretty murderous aggression and their style mixes different extreme sub-genres as well. Now you know that it makes no sense to ask for sunshine when we speak about this debut.

Just like all bands I have already mentioned, Master’s Call have concentrated on a powerful production. They rather want to be blamed for too much technical effort than for a non-professional sonic frame. Their first full-length scores with a full and direct sound where everything goes hand in hand. It’s an absolutely coherent and pretty expressive mix. By the way, I am no ideologist when it comes to the technical implementation. Sometimes I like underground productions, sometimes I cannot get enough of acoustic perfection. It depends on the sound of the band and the production of A Journey For The Damned fits the musical approach very well.

With regard to the seven unholy titles, I really appreciate the fact that the quartet saves the best for last. 'Pathways' is satanic gold. Its riffs expand the dimensions of mercilessness and the (mostly in high speed performed) conglomerate of different sections is absolutely fascinating, because each and every variation of the song’s inherent violence makes my blood boil. Especially the boundless guitar work reaches unexpected degrees of excellence and last, but not least, I am speaking about a pretty autonomous piece. Of course, the wheel is already invented, but here are no obvious external inspirations. Even the “Ugh” of the charismatic devil behind the microphone – he commutes between black metal malignancy and death metal growls – does not sound like the famous ones of Tom G. Warrior… By contrast, we get the almost equally impressive 'The Serpent’s Rise'. Here the aesthetics of Necrophobic shimmer through broad parts of the composition. Therefore we get numinous drama, enormous depth, morbid melodies and demonic eruptions – and all these ingredients meet at an almost dizzying height.

The further tracks are coherently designed, lukewarm or ill-defined sections do not show up. Moreover it goes without saying that they also benefit from the formidable mix. Nevertheless, they cannot challenge the two highlights, because the extra kick is missing. This is no big deal, because all of them are good, vehement and equipped with an attractive flow. Especially the latter should not be taken for granted with respect to the high number of breaks and tempo changes. In addition, the single songs form a quite homogeneous album which does not suffer from useless ambient intermezzos, inadequate experiments or vapid sections. The 41 minutes it takes to listen to the release from A to Z are time well spent as long as you do not belong to those jesters who think that Sabaton, Avantasia or Manowar deliver the ultimate excitement in metal. But they are lost souls anyway. At any rate, I can recommend the stylish digipak with the lyrics, band pics and so on. Only drummer James should try to refrain from his inappropriate grin, it doesn't fit so well with pictures of a black death squad. Legends like Necrophobic are definitely aware of this fact.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10


Review by Michael on December 18, 2023.

A very dark ominous intro brings storm and unholy forces upon this earth and with it comes Master's Call and their debut album A Journey For The Damned. If there was still a little bit of hope to escape this apocalypse, they burn it with 'All Hope In Fire'. This is a furious, thundering black-death bastard that grinds down everything and leaves a path of destruction. The song is goddamn catchy and has a lot of groove but is nevertheless a beast of a song with grim vocals and punching drums. With 'Beyond The Gates' the Brits present a slightly different side. Here some gloomy atmospheric parts crept in, especially in the beginning of the song just to unleash an avalanche of apocalyptic raiders in the process with some fast galloping drum patterns. This song really lives from its twists and turns and is a lesson for the genre. Well, between these two more or less different approaches to create a basic mood the quintet alternates. The keyboards are not used as a permanent catalyst to create a wanna-be evil atmosphere but are set to put nuances here and there and the most brutal parts are also only used as a temporary stylistic device. What is more in the foreground on A Journey For The Damned is a lot of traditional black-death in the vein of Necrophobic or Dissection (especially the melody arcs and the lead guitar riffing) which is highly entertaining and never boring. A song like 'Blood On The Altar' could have also been done by Sebastian Ramstedt because of its highly melodic and very technical approach and the fantastic guitar solo.

But not only the Swedish heroes were more or less role models for the guys but also old Slayer and (when it comes to the guitar work) probably also the old NWoBHM movement. Just listen carefully, you will probably hear some vibes here and there. Apart from the very convincing music the production is also top notch. Maybe some trve metalheads will state that it is too clean and balanced but when I get to listen to some new albums, I often ask myself if everybody who can hold a pan in their hands is allowed to record some music. So this album has earned a very powerful production and got it. Here everything is well-balanced and really kicks ass.

With this debut album the band has set the bar for their next album very high and I hope that they will continue the chosen path. This is the strongest debut album at least in 2023 and I am really looking forward to seeing them in February on tour with Brazilian Power From Hell. If you are into good black-death, there is no way to avoid A Journey For The Damned. So grip the album and join that journey! Horns up for Christmas!!

Rating: 9.3 out of 10 damned souls