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Heaviness Upon You - 91%

Erin_Fox, September 28th, 2006

Lair Of The Minotaur can unquestionably kick out the raw, thrashy sounds without sounding behind the times or rehashed as they prove once again on their latest Southern Lord record, ”The Ultimate Destroyer”. What makes this album most conspicuous is the mammoth, buzzing, high-gain tone of Steven Rathbone’s ultra-heavy guitars. The intense riffage roars through the speakers during “Juggernaut Of Metal”, a deafening cut that sports an atmosphere of ominous finality. Rathbone’s overtly gruff vocals during “Behead The Gorgon” will certainly thin the weak-willed from the herd, only those that are up for maximum carnage will survive this type of gristly barrage.

With both Rathbone and bassist Donald Barraca having done time in 7000 Dying Rats and drummer Larry Herweg having supplied the thunder for Tusk as well as Pelican, there’s more than enough metal know-how in this group to go around. ”The Ultimate Destroyer” is so full of mosh-tempting, headbanging licks you’ll swear that Lair Of The Minotaur had stolen Kerry King from Slayer.

Pounding, ragged-edged axework cuts like razor wire during the album’s frantic, up-tempo title track. As Barraca and Herweg throw down a chunky, throbbing groove, Rathbone lets loose with a full clip of utter vocal abomination. Lair Of The Minotaur bash away at a chopping rhythm during “Grisly Hound Of The Pit” that will no doubt be responsible for a mass of broken limbs and hospital bills when the boys break this one out in a live situation. Be forewarned — this cut is one monstrously heavy mutha.

Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation joins the fracas for “Cannibal Massacre” as LOTM moves between the stream-of-consciousness doom, nasty death metal grinding and a ten-foot-thick chorus geared to patently slay. Keeping the focus on sheer heaviness with a distinct absence of melodic noodling, “The Hydra Coils Upon This Wicked Mountain” brings an avalanche of slow-tempoed, pissed-off, spine-cracking trouble upon the by now, beaten and bruised listener.

If you can appreciate a stout can of heavy metal whoop-ass, Lair Of The Minotaur is capable of get the job done better than an ass-kicking machine. From start to finish, ”The Ultimate Destroyer” has everything it takes to make your ears bleed, your neck sore and your soul utterly broken, yet begging for more.