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Review: Lair of the Minotaur - War Metal Battle Master
Lair of the Minotaur
War Metal Battle Master

Label: Southern Lord
Year released: 2008
Duration: 39:31
Tracks: 8
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: March 13, 2008
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.1/5 (61.9%) (21 Votes)

I have been deeply anticipating this one, as I loved this band's last slab of murderous joy The Ultimate Destroyer. I was so psyched when this popped out of the Southern Lord promo envelope. At first spin I was thinking this was a bit of a step back, but after a week I can't stop playing this, and I am convinced this is every bit as deadly as their last masterwork.

The great and powerful Usurper may be gone, but now we have Lair Of The Minotaur to carry their war-axe into the coming years. Like Usurper, LotM are all about primal bellowing and Riffs of Mass Destruction. The guitar tone here is slightly less heavy than on the last album, thus accounting for some of my reservation, but the whole album is faster and thrashier, and the songwriting is even better than on Destroyer, so I have to call them both equally good, just in different ways. The Ultimate Destroyer was a primeval crushing disc of sludgy, Sabbath-tinted mayhem, while War Metal Battle Master is high-octane Sodom/Celtic Frost proto-Thrash that kills and kills and kills some more. We get gleeful metal fists of destruction like "Horde Of Undead Vengeance", "When The Ice Giants Slayed All", and "Black Viper Barbarian Clan", plus a bonus in the nine-minute epic of "Doomtrooper", which flattens everything before it like a giant fucking siege engine covered with skulls and spiked iron plates.

This is a defiant middle finger raised to all 'modern' forms of metal, and Lair Of The Minotaur remain dedicated to digging right back down to the roots of the whole tree, creating metal so backwards it's Neanderthal. They proclaim that "War Metal Battle Master" is a concept album about solving your problems with a big fucking axe." I hardly think it can be said any better than that. A must-have album for anyone who isn't a complete pussy.

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