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Master - Vindictive Miscreant

Vindictive Miscreant
by Martin Knap at 11 December 2018, 11:25 AM

In case you didn’t know, MASTER are one of the original US Death Metal bands. The band was founded in 1983 and is now releasing their fourteenth albums. If you’re wondering why this band has such staying power just listen to their 1991 album “On the Seventh Day God Created… Master” – the music speaks for itself. Founder and only original member Paul Speckmann must have had quite a colorful life. The band signed a deal with Nuclear Blast in the 1990s, but as the Death Metal scene declined after the mid-1990s MASTER struggled to get a proper record deal. Speckmann decided to move to the Czech Republic in 1998 where he reformed MASTER and joined Czech Death Metal legends KRABATHOR, with whom he recorded two albums before the band went on a hiatus in 2003 (the last album was the band’s low point to be honest), after which he concentrated on MASTER and other projects, such as his collaborative project JOHANNSON & SPECKMANN.

MASTER’s sound always stayed rooted in the extreme Metal of the 1980s, it has some Thrash or Hardcore Punk accents. Lyrically they are also not cut from the same cloth as your typical Death Metal band – the themes are political and societal, we often get a bitter or snarky commentary on American society and politics. The songs on “Vindictive Miscreant” are all rather straight-forward and forceful, the riffs are often simple and catchy in a Hardcore Punk kind of way. I feel like some riffs wouldn’t be out of place in a DISCHARGE song, although the Hardcore aggression is a bit turned down and there is a more pronounced ghoulish vibe that we associate with Death Metal. There are eight songs on the album whose length ranges from four and a half to six and a half minutes, which can be a bit long given the straight-forwardness of MASTER’s music. The playing is mechanically precise, maybe a bit too mechanical for my taste; what gives the music character are Speckmann’s grimy vocals. There is some real passion and anger in them and you can tell that the music comes from a deep place. The album overall can be a bit monotonous, but there are stand-out songs such as the title song or “The Book” – be it because of catchy riffs or memorable choruses.

This album is unassuming but endearing. If you are in mood for music coming “from the gut” this might be for you. The album grew on me after repeated listens and will definitely stay in rotation for a while.

Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Vindictive Miscreant
2. Actions Speak Louder than Words
3. Replaced
4. The Inner Strength of the Demon
5. The Book
6. Engulfed in Paranoia
7. The Impossible of Dreams
8. Stand Up and Be Counted
Paul Speckmann – Bass, Vocals
Zdeněk Pradlovský – Drums
Alex Nejezchleba – Guitars
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity


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Edited 07 December 2022

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