Master – An Epiphany of Hate (2016)


Master, Autopsy, Motörhead –  what do they all have in common? They’re all long running bands that settled on a workable style relatively early and generally stuck with it for decades, gradually refining their craft while managing not to lose control of the forces that initially motivated them. Master is arguably the grandfather of this tradition within the realms of death metal, as they’re the approximate beginning of the constellation of Paul Speckmann projects (since War Cry is allegedly a far cry from most of his work). Given that Master sticks with tradition on An Epiphany of Hate, anyone who’s familiar with Master should know exactly what they’re going to get.

This album belongs to the more elaborate school of Mastercraft that’s come into being in the last few years; while Master has never written especially long or complicated songs, the level of musicianship and organization on display here is a definite improvement from the early days of the band. The production and mixing is also higher fidelity, but improving such is not nearly as difficult as becoming a better songwriter. I’d argue that Paul Masidval’s (protip: Cynic) contributions to Master during his brief mercenary period in the early 1990s must’ve resonated with Speckmann on some level and encouraged this elaboration. An Epiphany of Hate is still relatively sparse in its overall construction; the songs here are built out of comparatively few riffs; if not necessarily the three per song figure that comes up in older discussions. Monophony is still the band’s weapon of choice, but like many of the bands that have… mastered this sort of metal, Master’s musicians know when to keep it up and enjoy their freedom of melody and tonality and when they should instead use some sort of harmonic reinforcement. This expansion without overextension is something a lot of bands aren’t able to successfully pull off, so it does reflect pretty well on them.

I don’t know how much of an advance An Epiphany of Hate represents over 2013’s The Witchhunt, if any, but it’s still a good addition to Master’s legacy and a worthy addition to your 2016 collections.

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2 thoughts on “Master – An Epiphany of Hate (2016)”

  1. OliveFox says:

    I like it a lot. An invigorating B/B- album. A nice burst of energy starting the new year out. It will likely fizzle in interest by spring, but, that’s to be expected with a band of such balls out immediacy. Supporting Speckmann is never a bad thing either. Living legend. “Just take my arm” and the title track are the my favorite tracks so far.

    My main complaint, and one I have been having about a lot of albums lately, is that I really only need maybe 25 minutes of this style. 45 in 10 tracks isn’t particularly long winded by any means, but I find myself fist pumping, headbanging, and smiling ear to ear through 3 or 4 songs…than, my interest fizzles as I believe the point of the album was made fairly quickly and little is left to discover. I think this album is destined to have certain songs cherry picked for playlists, car-rides, party mixes, or whatever. Perhaps such criticism is trite in a digital age, and maybe Master is the wrong band to use as an example, but there ya go.

  2. Anders Dagaz says:

    I’ve met Speckmann a couple times in Philly. I was really curious and asked him about Masvidal. Speckmann told me that he never met him once and someone (the record label?) just brought Masvidal in to do solos at the studio.

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