Lair of the Minotaur: Godslayer

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Lair of the Minotaur: Godslayer
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Lair of the Minotaur: Terror Regime
Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Thrash Metal
The Grind-House Records
April 20th, 2013
Release length: 8:16
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Lair of the Minotaur has long called themselves a “War Metal” group. Over the years, that title has justly defined the impact their music makes. Formed in 2003, the Chicago, Illinois group has remained under the radar for many, but built a loyal fanbase opver the years. In 2004, they issued their debut full-length, Carnage, through Southern Lord Records, their home for two more albums, an EP, as well as a live DVD. In 2010, the band signed with The Grind-House Records to release Evil Power, considered by both fans and critics alike to be their best work to date. But, that was a good three years ago. Now, the band gears up to present their loyal fans a new two-song EP titled Godslayer, which celebrates both ten years as a band, as well as Record Store Appreciation Day. But, is this noble notion a success, or does this EP fail to hit the listener the same way it would have years ago?

Godslayer has a very rough and dirty sound, which is about what you would expect from Lair of the Minotaur at this point. The cymbals of the drum kit seem to have a bit of wash out on them, but that could just be from the raw quality and slightly distance they are at considering how minor it is. The rest of the kit sounds great, having a deeper snap to everything, including the click of the bass kicks. The guitars have a mild mid-range distortion that can sometimes find static mixed in, coming through with enough balls to present a heavy sound along with the already deep bass guitar. Of course, the vocals are your typical shouting approach that suits the sludgier moments of the material. This sound is clearly meant to take advantage of a vinyl output, which will be limited to three hundred pressings only, and makes even the digital experience sound somewhat similar if you miss out on owning that version.

“Godslayer” kicks things off with a furious, intense performance, shifting between fast speeds and groove-lined passages. It’s easy to start banging your head along to it, as well as ignore the aforementioned cymbal issue, getting wrapped up in the sheer amount of testosterone and rage. There are plenty of shifts to the music as well, keeping it fresh right from the start, though the end does seem to be extended just a bit too long. Thankfully, this doesn’t hurt the song that much, but does end up dulling the adrenaline a bit by making it feel as if the out-of-control bullet train were forcing itself along to it’s destination of dustruction. Then there’s “The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas,” which is another furious track rich of Thrash Metal speed and fury. Of the two, this is the richest sounding, and even includes some guttural vocals that are done over a chugging passage that asserts the groups authority with honor, making you want to start a mosh pit wherever you stand, leaving no man or woman alive before the creepy synth and keyboard sci-fi b-movie conclusion kicks in unannounced.

Godslayer is definitely one hell of an EP, and proof that, even after ten years, Lair of the Minotaur is still pissed off and ready for battle. This two song EP is just over eight minutes, but these two tracks show why this band has had such a strong underground following, though you may need to give it a few spins to truly appreciate it, even if you’re a longtime fan. Both songs have slight issues toward the end, though neither really hurt the impact of the song, though the creepy b-movie outro of “The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas” will make the perfect ambient soundtrack to when you realized the mosh pit you created turned into a bloodsoaked crime scene. If it’s not, then you’re clearly already comatose.

01. Godslayer – 4:14
02. The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas – 4:02
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Lair of the Minotaur (band)
Lair of the Minotaur

Digital review copy of this release provided by The Grind-House Records via Earsplit PR.