Lair of the Minotaur – War Metal Battle Master CD
Southern Lord Recordings
Despite this being their third album and evidently the band being from my own city, this CD stands as my first exposure to Lair of the Minotaur. The band name alone conjured images in my mind of something dark and sinister and I suspected perhaps some sort of cheesy fantasy role-playing theme to the band. I was correct on the former and thankfully incorrect on the latter.
What initially stood out upon listening to War Metal Battle Master was I couldn’t pigeonhole the band into a specific category of metal, it was instead as if each member of the band were from different metal bands and all decided to form a band and each write different parts of each song. The end result is a really cool mix of a variety of styles such as hardcore blast beats, sludge, black and death metal not fighting for dominance but co-existing and working well together. Listening to this album sort of gave me flashbacks of various bands and style throughout the last 15 or so years of metal without sounding like a re-hash of anything. Their songs are almost a highlight reel of all the cool sub-genres of metal handed to me in on one plate.
The band is relentless in their delivery, there is no breaks for any slow songs or ballads on this disc, it’s a non-stop attack on the senses. The production leans slightly to the rawer side of things which gives the entire album a sort of gritty undertone. I think that was the best choice for the band’s sound as trying to add a layer of polish which would have taken away from the power and intensity of their songs.
The bottom line is this was a great surprise that ended up in my mailbox and Lair of the Minotaur is definitely a band I’d like to not only hear more from, but I’d also like to check out one of their shows sometime to see and hear what these songs are like in a live setting. If you are looking for something a little different than the norm in your metal, you’d be hard pressed currently to find a better album worth taking a chance on than War Metal Battle Master.