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Master – Saints Dispelled

master – saints dispelled


It has been more than 20 two decades since I have reviewed my first Master release, at the time I started with ‘Unreleased 1985 album’ that was released in 2003. In the subsequent years I would spend some more words on the albums that would appear in the second half of the 00’s, yet after 2007’s ‘Slaves To Society’ I didn’t hear so much new Master tracks apart from the occasion song from either of the many later releases or live shows. That was not only because I gave up reviewing for a good couple of years, but mostly because the music was less appealing to me.

A bit of a contradiction perhaps, as Master have had a more stable line-up since Paul Speckmann moved to Czechia in the 00’s, not only in terms of the ever-changing personnel of the band but also the musical quality delivered by the Czechian musicians. Still, the one-dimensionalism of Master definitely played its part in my declining interest in the band. While Master never was a band that tried to reinvent anything and stayed true to its roots, I increasingly felt that the band was more or less tied to that same old and simple formula of mid 80’s Death Metal for the lack of creativity and musical capability.

Without short-changing the impact of the early Master/Deathstrike material in those roaring mid 80’s, the band definitely contributed to the foundations of the Death Metal genre, I was never fully able to shake off the feeling of Paul Speckmann being someone who is stuck in the past and always feels aggrieved. And that, frankly, heavily affected the way I felt with Master’s music, add to that the band played the European pubs extensively over the past twenty years, hardly been able to pull a decent crowd…

Still, in recent years the band seemed to have been supported by two more or less bigger labels, High Roller Records and Hammerheart Records that both took their share of reissuing some of the band’s extensive back catalogue. For sure this something that the band deserves for obvious reasons, yet it will not change the way people will look upon Master, therefore the music is just a bit too generic.

And that, frankly, is also the case with this new album, first new one to appear through Hammerheart Records. ‘Saints Dispelled’ is a logical continuation of anything the band has been doing over the past years – yes, I had to do some homework, listening back to a good couple of albums. The galloping drums, the fairly simple riffs and Speckmann’s trademark roar are still very much present. Yet, I think ‘Saints Dispelled’ can be regarded as being the band’s best album in a fair amount of years: the sound is a bit fresher and the well-played but rather unsophisticated guitar solos do offer a nice contrast against the otherwise pretty trademarked almost punk/d-beat-infused Master formula. For sure ‘Saints Dispelled’ is a decent listen and it was good to revisit the band, but the ever-occurring problem is also rearing its head here. In the end, even if the album only clocks in at just over 37-minutes, in the end it just all sounds the same. It sounds the same for many years already, making the whole thing a bit of a too standard affair of not all too interesting Death Metal.

At the one hand, it is good to see Master being Master, just stubbornly continuing their own path, but as a listener it is hard to just keep focus along the full ride of the album. Therefore the music is simply a bit too interchangeable, the songs among each other, but also between albums. Listening to ‘Saints Dispelled’, which sees the light of day about six years after its predecessor, leaves me a bit in two minds and I am having hard times finding a balance between paying respect to the band and seeing it into the landscape of the current extreme metal in which it simply doesn’t hold up.

Hammerheart Records

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