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Master - "The New Elite" (CD)

Master - "The New Elite" CD cover image

"The New Elite" track listing:

1. The New Elite
2. Rise Up and Fight
3. Remove the Knife
4. Smile as You're Told
5. Redirect the Evil
6. Out of Control
7. As Two Worlds Collide
8. New Reforms
9. Guide Yourself
10. Souls to Dissuade
11. Twist of Fate

Reviewed by on October 3, 2012

"It's always good to see an old-school death metal act who's been in the scene nearly 30 years come back with a commanding presence over the newer bands."

It's always good to see an old-school death metal act who's been in the scene nearly 30 years come back with a commanding presence over the newer bands. In the case of Master, we only had to wait a couple of years since "The Human Machine." Paul Speckmann, who has been living in the Czech Republic for a while with his two band members (Czech guitarist Alex Nejezchleba and Slovakian drummer Zdenek Pradlovský), once again lays down the pulverizing law with "The New Elite." The release is what one would expect of Master, but they do it well.

On "The New Elite," seeing that we're only listening to a trio is putting things in perspective. That Speckmann and company can emerge with a sound that other bands would need a whole stage of musicians to emulate is a testimony to Master's old-school experience. "The New Elite" is 11 tracks of seamless and punishing thrashing death metal that easily could earn them top points for one of the better albums this year (after Kreator, of course).

Master has you from the opening note on this one and doesn't let up the grip until the final notes conclude. The title track is a clobbering tune with 100 mph leads and good variety within the song. "Smile as You're Told" likewise combines excellent rhythm and speed. Ever present are Speckmann's sickly vocals that are as much a part of Master as the good unit he has assembled to create this vision of old-school death metal.

In fact, Death is a band that comes to mind when likening songs on "The New Elite" to other bands. "Out of Control" has the same fast, yet controlled, leads of the aforementioned, and "Remove the Knife" similarly knows when to make killer transitions from a drum and lead pound-fest into the midway skank. You can see why Death guitarist Rick Rozz wanted to tour with these guys. Master shows that it is not all about speed, but how you write song transitions that makes thrash captivating. They know when to pick up and drop off on a rhythm and give a song both deadliness and variety.

Besides the supreme speed and high energy of the whole album, Master makes sure to add some flourishes with the bass in "Souls to Dissuade" and in the outro track as a way of breaking things up and concluding the album logically. "New Reforms" sets the pace in motion with an apropo drum roll before it plows you with all the layering of leads as well. Segments of leads throughout such tracks as "Redirect the Evil" keep the core beats from getting stale and keep the listener engaged.

"The New Elite" is quite a good release, which shows that a scene veteran usually has the chops and dedication to take on the genre and bring it to a new level. It is killer death thrash, although not without a few flaws here and there, such as a few moments of filler in some songs and the guitars put a bit high in the mix on others. But, all in all, this is one of the better moments in old-school death metal that I have heard this year.

Highs: Supreme energy, well-written songs and excellent old-school death metal

Lows: Some filler upon occasion and guitars are a bit high in the mix here and there

Bottom line: One of the better death thrashing releases of the year by a scene veteran.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)