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Master - Their finest effort - 89%

Savage300, June 20th, 2003

Probably, this is the best album Master managed to put out (still having troubles to decide). While a few later outputs are insanely thrashy, this is mostly a speed metal issue.
A speed metal issue, except the first track "Master", not only the best song on here, but it has definitely a very thrashy intro riff. Not only the intro riff is really thrashy, but it's also one of the most twisted bone-crushing riffs ever. Damn good stuff. Most opinions on this track are not as high, as they should be, because of the "annoying vocalist". Here and now I declare those opinions to be complete blasphemy. The voice works very well with the whole song definitely. Another cool thing about this song is the ending, which features the same intro riff and verse, but a lot faster.
The next song "Beware", being a solid piece of music, manges to sound quite bad, exactly because of the "annoying vocalist". But in general it's good overall, just one needs to get a bit used to it.
The third track "Hands Off" is another nice speedy song, notable for some cute verse riffs and catchy chorus.
"Shield And Sword", after a small intro, sarts the main riff, another damn memorable, but as far, as the next riff starts, a lot more memorable. Then, the chorus riff, even more memorable. This is definitely the special Master thing, putting out not very technically difficult, but quite memorable riffs. In general this song has a few slow moments, but by the riffs it is a total winner (except the first track, naturally).
The next track is the one that usually is skipped. Starts out with a long intro (hm, is that an intro?) and flows into a sad ballad-like song. Quite annoying, but listenable.
"Will And Mind" was previously featured on Aria's "Whom Are You With?". No, it's not entirely a cover. It was co-written by Bolshakov (who moved to Master) and Yelin (who stayed in Aria). The always-repeating chorus riff might get stuck in one's head for a long time.
Same goes with "Stand Up, Vanquish Fear", it was featured on that same Aria album and co-written by Bolshakov. This song takes the cake for the catchiest song on here (except the first one, again). Nice lyrics too.
"Save Me" is a great track. Not too much music-wise, but really catchy and epic. Always makes me feel better, because of its "positiviness" (but one should understand those russian lyrics to catch with it). Among the very best of this album.
"Who Beats Whom?" - the last actual track on here. Quite good, not as special or memorable as the others, also a lot shorter.
And in the end, depending on the album release, one can find a bonus live track "Here Metal Is Forged". This is like "Will And Mind" from that same Aria album. Quite a fun live track.

In general, this is a great cd. Definitely worth getting, for the genre maniacs especially.