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Schizophrenic second league worship - 69%

kluseba, July 26th, 2011

The self titled debut album of "Master" is another overlooked and essential piece of traditional Russian heavy metal, this time with a focus on thrash metal. Two past members of Aria founded this group and wanted to play music in the key of the first Aria records with a slightly heavier approach. In a strange way, the musicians weren't quite able to entirely disconnect from Aria and their smoother metal sound. The band plays two cover versions of the second album of Aria for this record and even if they sound slightly heavier, more riff orientated and a little bit faster, the difference isn't enough to give a different atmosphere or own character to those great tracks. I also think that it isn't a good and courageous sign to include two cover versions from past bands on the first record of a new band. They should rather focus on forging their own identity and that's where this album ultimately fails.

Let me explain why. The album starts truly promising with the two best tracks. "Master" as well as "Watch out" are two fast paced and vivid speed metal anthems with clear thrash metal influences that remind a lot of the Russian band "Kruiz" as well as of the American legends of "Metallica". "Hands off!" combines both thrash and heavy metal roots in fast paced verses and a more melodic and classic chorus. They create a very vivid banger that works well and the bands seems to have found its own and unique approach right here.

But suddenly, the band plays softer and rather traditional heavy metal tracks that could also be written by Aria. I must admit that tracks like "Shield and sword" are still great metal tracks that remind me of the energy of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal but the band almost completely abandons its thrash metal approach and plays quite the same music that many other bands offer already in a similar or better quality. They lose too much their original approach, goal and energy that just comes back with the short and sweet speed metal killer "Who will win" at the well done end of the album and that mixes heavy and thrash metal in a great manner. But when the band plugs an atmospheric dark ride interlude with choirs and keyboards called "It's night once again" that turns out to be the second longest track on here, they just lose me here and turn me off. Normally, I'm very positive and open minded towards this kind of experiments, but it's too abrupt in here and completely breaks with the strong two or three first songs of the album. Let's say that this experiment is way too long and repeated in the overlong introduction of "Keep me" that has almost a doom or gothic feeling that is than mixed with classic hard rock and heavy metal riffs. This may sound innovating and promising but is completely incoherent to the album's thrash metal beginning as well as the heavy metal tracks in the middle of the record. The band completely mixes me up and sounds pointless.

In the end, the whole thing sounds as if someone had mixed three different albums by three different bands into a strange potpourri. This effect gives a really weird and schizophrenic impression to the record and rates this album down. Musically, it's interesting and there are only two weaker tracks with "It's night once again" and "Keep me" but if we add the two cover songs two this, there are only five more or less unique but at least good average to great songs that worship the mentioned bands. The talent can be heard on the whole record but the band lacks of focus, uniqueness and creativity. That's why this somewhat slightly overrated album gets a rather low rating and plays only in the second league of Russian metal music according to me.