Once again Master unleash an old school beast with a high average pace, catchy chorusses and Speckmann’s lyrical socioeconomic evaluations. What else is new? Well, first of all it’s a new Master album so you should care and secondly within the boundaries of the Speckniverse it is one of the best ones. Ever since achieving the solid ‘new’ line-up with Alex Nejezchleba and Zdenek Pradlovský, Master seem to have a renewed vigour, energy and cohesion. After warming up the fans with the playfulness of the ‘Spirit of the West’ album, especially the full on death metal assault of ‘Slaves to Society’ and ‘The Human Machine’ was more than a return to form for the grandfather of old school death metal. As soon as I heard the first online preview of ‘Smile as you’re told’ I knew I had to get this album. I was not disappointed. Even more than that, ‘The New Elite’ has become one of my favorite Master albums. Compared to their previous record ‘The Human Machine’ the guitar tone has more definition, most songs are even more to the point and compact but most importantly, this album feels even more energetic and changes in pace seem more natural. Take for instance drummer Zdenek Pradlovský. If you didn’t pay close attention you just wouldn’t notice how good this man actually is. The ease, finesse and perfect timing of his performance almost go by unnoticed since he never does too much but if one listens closely it feels like we’re dealing with a Hoglan of death metal. The strength of The New Elite lies mostly within the first 4 and last 4 songs. After the regular d-beat laden onslaught of crusty death metal riffs and thrashbreaks on catchy openers ‘The New Elite’ and ‘Rise Up and Fight’ Paul&co increase the pace even more on ‘Remove the Knife’ which has some winks at black metal riffwise but because of Speckmann’s vocals and catchy chorus easily fit into Master territory. The song also proved to be a real gem in the live environment. ‘Smile as You’re Told’, as said, is yet another highlight. The only downside on the album comes from the slow song ‘Redirect the Evil’ which meanders just a bit too much and pick ups way too late. But then there is ‘New Reforms’, which takes less than three minutes, includes blast beats and one hell of a chorus. ‘Guide Yourself’ easily continues the style, pace, catchiness of the first four songs and ‘Souls to Dissuade’ throws a bassintro and another blast beat in the mix whereas ‘Twist of Fate’ is something special as the first half of the song could’ve come straight from Master’s first albums yet then slows its pace, Paul takes the mic and drags us towards the end of the album with a fascinating monologue. All in all, a more than worthy follow up to The Human Machine and maybe even better. Fans of old who focus mostly on the first two albums and have been missing out on Master these last few years might be up for a surprise seeing how fresh ‘The New Elite’ sounds, incorporating just enough new elements over the years without losing that basic Master sound. Those of you who like ‘Slaves to Society’ and ‘The Human Machine’ probably got your hands on The New Elite already and if not, you could do so blindly.