MASTER is a veteran act in the Extreme Metal scene, releasing albums since 1990 ensure them that status. The main man behind MASTER is an individual named Paul Speckmann. Sometime ago Paul Speckmann packed his stuff and moved from the US to The Czech Republic. If you read the lyrics of “Four More Years of Terror” it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be moving back home anytime soon. The whole record reeks of distrust against the US and their role as world police. I don’t know if it’s right to say that he hates the US but at least he has some serious issues with his former country, I reckon this record could be a hit in Iran.
Now that you know what the lyrics are all about, let’s move onto the music. The music on “Four More Years Of Terror” is a mixture of Old School Death Metal and Thrash, no blast beats here. As much as I like blast beats, a record can be as satisfying without the use of that beat, “Four More Years of Terror” is an example of such a record. I have to admit that I haven’t been following the career of MASTER at all. I have noticed them through the years, read some interviews and that kind of stuff, but I’ve never given any of their albums a proper listen, until now that is. Since I’m not familiar with MASTER’s music I have to rely on other reviewers when it is said that MASTER still plays the music they started out with, only better this time around.
Blast free it is but “Four More Years Of Terror” is still an upbeat record. The bass drums are pummelling forth most of the time, giving the music some serious drive. The overall drum playing might be considered straight forward for those who hold a band such as CRYPTOPSY as their favourite Death Metal act. I think it fits the music bloody well. One good reason for that is the excellent mix which lets every instrument take part. Since Mr. Speckmann is both main man and bass guitarist we are even let to hear how a bass guitar sounds like. I guess it’s a bit easier to get an audible bass in this kind of Death Metal than in the one that relies on speed. The vocals of Mr. Speckmann has as much in common with Thrash Metal as it has with Death Metal, one could argue that it sound more Black than Death Metal too. In other words we are not treated with Chris Barnes type of growling here. Let’s just call it extreme vocals.
I read in some review that MASTER’s music was reminiscent of HELLHAMMER, the band you’ve heard about but not actually listened to. That is the case for me at least. The bottom line is, however, that MASTER doesn’t play what one would call modern Metal, other than the production values that is. Another sign of quality is that the lengthy playing time doesn’t work against the record; it’s been quite a while since I heard a record of this length that didn’t bore the hell out of me. It’s kind of strange actually since most of the songs are quite similar. I guess that cleverly placed solos, good riffs and ditto song writing is the reason for that.
I’ve listened to the record several times, I mean like ten times plus. At first I didn’t find anything special but repeated listens opened the record up for me. It may be that I’m a bit slow here since the music can’t be said to be overly complex. As I mentioned previously most of the songs are carved out from the same well of inspiration. Even tough “Four More Years of Terror” must be considered being really consistent I have managed to come up with some songs that I like more than the rest. These songs are; “All We’ve Become”, “Does One Feel Pain” and “Hell Probably Win”. “All We’ve Become” is my favourite simply because it has that little extra; it sounds like MOTORHEAD doing Death Metal. “Does One Feel Pain” is another favourite because it contains some really good Death Metal riffs. What I’m thinking about here is the breakdown from pummelling Thrash riffs to good old Death Metal riffs; it really stands out when played in this context. “Hell Probably Win” is my last favourite simply because it has a tremendous drive, head banger friendly to the core.
Fans of Old School Death Metal should take notice and invest in “Four More Years of Terror”. If that’s the kind of music you’re after I can’t see you going anywhere wrong with this release. Be sure to check out the link for “Betrayal”, it’s the least you can do; recommended then. (Online February 4, 2006)