Review by Trevor Proctor.
Swedish label Blood Harvest Records has just released the second full length album from Paraguayan Black/Death/Thrash band Master of Cruelty on LP along with Japanese label Deathrash Armageddon who released a CD version. During 2012 Blood Harvest Records released Master of Cruelty’s debut album, ‘Spit on the Holy Grail,’ on vinyl – a debut album that brought the band a lot of praise and attention and to date has been issued on CD, vinyl and cassette. ‘Spit on the Holy Grail’ was a furious attack of bestial, death influenced black thrash and an album that put the band on the road to underground notoriety.
Aside from their full length albums since formation in 2009 Master of Cruelty has released a demo entitled ‘Impale Thy Crux’ in 2010 and two EPs; ‘Occult Loud Blast’ in 2010 and ‘Depths of a Cold Abyss’ which they released in 2012. In addition to these they also released three splits – Necro Blasphemy III (2010) which they shared with To Arkham, Infernal Command and Cacería, a 7” split in 2015 which they shared with Nocturnal Evil and the ‘Sepulchral Voices’ split which they shared with Fetid Zombie, Nocturnized and Vomit Church. Master of Cruelty’s current line-up consists of The Vandalic who performs drums, Vomitor who plays bass, W. Impaler on rhythm guitar and A.G.V. who performs lead guitar and vocals. The exceptional artwork for ‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld’ is the creation of highly respected artist Mark Riddick.
Music from South America always has and always will be something special with the continent bringing us some of the best underground metal to ever grace our speakers. Underground metal originating in South America has a strong reputation for primitive barbarity and this is also the case with Master of Cruelty whose music has no airs or graces and is all the more potent for it. ‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld’ starts with an atmospheric, acoustic intro that’s laced with whispered, eerie vocals – I’m a fan of intros and this one works perfectly well in setting the scene for over thirty minutes of Master of Cruelty’s barbaric black/death/thrash. The title track follows the intro and straight away we’re presented with a very strong thrash influenced track that sets both the standard and tone for the next thirty minutes. Title track,‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld,’ is available to stream here and will confirm to you the standard of music Master of Cruelty is capable of delivering - if you like this track you’ll love the album.
Even the tracks that start off at a slightly slower pace, like the seriously good ‘Spheres of Time,’ don’t take long in returning to their trademark frenetic pace, however, amidst the chaos and bestiality there’s also a number of lethal solos to be heard. These solos, at times, bring an element of melody to their intense blackened attack but don’t let that fool you in any way, by and large this is quite a full on album that tends to keep the pace as intense and heavy as the music is excellent. There are also some atmospheric moments during a few tracks but these also tend to serve as punctuation between the moments of pure savagery. Master of Cruelty has slightly expanded their sound via these occasional melodic and atmospheric moments but has done so without diluting the potency of their music in any way. Whilst there’s nothing here to re-write the rule books in terms of originality there doesn’t need to be – Master of Cruelty easily avoid sounding stale, generic or repetitive, and their formula for doing so lies with the passion, rawness and sheer talent they use to deliver their potent style of music. From start to finish there’s not a bum note or moment of filler to be heard, even the closer ‘Knowledge Beyond this Dimension,’ is an extremely strong track and one that closes the album in the strongest of fashions.
Blood Harvest Records is one of our underground’s finest labels and the standard of music they release is not to be underestimated, they continually bring us some of the best music the underground has to offer and thankfully this is also the case with ‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld’ which is a superb album that will most definitely appeal to many. With ‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld’ Master of Cruelty has delivered an exceptional album that most certainly upholds the excellent reputation of both their label and South America – a band to watch and support for sure.
‘Archaic Visions of the Underworld’ is an album full of highlights and if you’re a fan of blackened death/thrash this will most definitely appeal.
01 - Mortem Prima Lex
02 - Archaic Visions of the Underworld
03 - The Executioner
04 - Spheres of Time
05 - Our Endless Wrath
06 - Perpetual Deadly Hollows
07 - Mythological Creatures
08 - Knowledge Beyond this Dimension.