“Vindictive Miscreant”

By Dr. Abner Mality

One has to admire the dogged determination of Paul Speckmann. He continues to pound out Master’s patented oldschool death metal with faithful reliability, never straying too far from the core strengths of the band but doing just enough to keep things listenable.

There have been tons of ups and downs over the course of Master’s existence, not the least of which was locating to a completely new country, but the consistency has been amazing. The band’s new label is India-based Transcending Obscurity and they’ve provided Master with one of the best production jobs they’ve had in 30 plus years. “Vindictive Miscreant” has a great modern sound that captures all the heaviness and bile. And man, there’s bile by the truckload here. Speckmann’s contempt and loathing has never flagged over the years, either in vocals or playing, and he sounds as nasty here as he ever has, opening the album by snarling “you’re nothing but a vindictive miscreant” and slamming into the high velocity title track.

The 8 tracks here follow the tried and true Master template. “The Inner Strength of the Demon” slows things down a bit with a chugging grind while “The Book” and “Engulfed In Paranoia” are just a bit more complex than the usual high speed burn, with some cool time changes and riffs. Paul’s slurry, phlegmy death vocals are just as hateful as ever. Last track “Stand Up And Be Counted” is a call to arms and features the catchiest riffing of the whole album.

I thought a couple tracks ran a little long, but after almost 35 years, it’s really a marvel that Master can still sound so caustic and heavy.