Master: The Witchhunt

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Master: The Witchhunt
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Master: The Witchhunt
Death Metal
F.D.A. Rekotz
September 27th, 2013
Release length: 53:24
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A little more than a year ago, the legendary Death Metal entity known as Master issued The New Elite, which was a well received album that was handled by Pulverised Records. Now, the band find themselves on the underground powerhouse F.D.A. Rekotz, as well as present their twelfth full-length outing, The Witchhunt. With high expectations already set by their fans due to the quality of their past few albums, it’s easy to say this release may be one of their most important follow-ups of their career. But, does The Witchhunt meet all those hopes and dreams, or does it end up more like an album rushed for the sake of quantity, and not quality?

The Witchhunt does offer some great performances, but the audio quality can end up hurting things a fair amount. The mid-range distortions of the guitars can be met without much bass, which causes some songs to sound restrained. “The Witchhunt” starts off with some creepy riffs and a strong focus on the cymbals of the drum kit before kicking into some catchy mid-tempo Death Metal guitar chords. The conclusion is definitely far more powerful, but it’s still rather rough to get to that point. The rest of the album will seem as tame as this track on first glance, but the more you listen, the better it sounds, especially in the later songs when the performances become tighter, and the “ughh” suffix to the last word of every line in the lyrics isn’t automatically attached.

“The Parable” has a deeper presence to it with some additional technicality in the guitar work throughout. This and the solid drumming does take some of the importance off the bass, and gives it a little more impact naturally, unlike “Plans of Hate,” which finds a complex drum performance, and a deeper presence by putting the bass to good use, finally letting it bare its fangs to help the hooks become more infectious. Then there’s “God of Thunder,” easily the best of the release thanks to some additional Speed Metal influence at work, and the blistering kicks really help to thicken the music and make it a bit more intimidating against the strong guitar riffs and scattered hooks. The vocals sometimes tread into a raspier terrain instead of the disgusted growling style that typically gives the album a hefty creepy vibe. The guitar solo is fantastic as well, kicking in when the guitars and drums explode with more speed around the three and a half minutes mark, but simply doesn’t compare to the melodic one towards the end of “Wipe Out the Aggressor.”

In the end, The Witchhunt isn’t a bad album, but the audio does take away from the overall impact. Some of the later tracks do stick out well, such as “God of Thunder” and “Wipe Out the Aggressor,” but much of the time the music is a bit too thin to leave a lasting impression. Had the audio quality of the release been a little thicker by doing something like raising the volume of the bass guitar, or even having a little click to the bass kicks instead of a thud, the release would definitely have more bite. But, in the end, this album is what it is, and that’s still a solid example of the early Death Metal performances that Master brings to the table.

01. The Witchhunt – 4:24
02. Plans of Hate – 3:17
03. Another Suicide – 4:42
04. Waiting to Die – 5:51
05. The Parable – 3:44
06. God of Thunder – 4:58
07. Remove the Clowns – 5:53
09. Raise Your Sword – 5:50
09. Wipe Out the Aggressor – 4:50
10. Manipulated to Exterminate – 6:15
11. The American Dream – 6:38
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Master
Master

Digital review copy of this release provided by F.D.A. Rekotz via Clawhammer PR.