Review: War Master

War Master Pyramid of the Necropolis Torture Garden Pictures Company

WMCoverIt’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is an adage that holds with special intensity in the world of underground music. I know that there is a general idea that rolls around in the scene that what people are doing is supposed to be, in some significant sense, original. With music as simple and uncomplicated as hardcore and the various variants of metal that surround it, there is very little new under the sun. This is not exactly tragic, at least to my way of thinking. In the first place, most of the bands that I listened to in my youth were so unstable that they could barely get there shit sufficiently together to record even on album’s worth of material. And then there was the case of the bands that surpassed this threshold but probably shouldn’t have. How many times did one experience the case of bands whose first release was awesome and who then saw fit to pollute their legacy by recording utter crap as a follow up. Case in point: Sacrilege. Behind the Realms of Madness was one of the finest examples of the productive crossover between hardcore and thrash metal in Great Britain in the early 1980s. Their follow up, Within the Prophecy, was a monuments to self-indulgent metal riffing featuring boring and interminable solos, and eight minute songs.

In light of these ruminations, I give you War Master. On hearing the name of this band you would be forgiven for thinking that they were basically a bunch of Bolt Thrower worshippers. And, of course, you’d be right. Pyramid of the Necropolis is straight out of the Bolt Thrower playbook circa 1989. Having talked at so much length about bands that made unwise stylistic decisions, I suppose it is worth acknowledging that after their first two records, Bolt Thrower went on to release the same record about six times over. For me that was ok. In any case, I will say that War Master’s moniker is slightly ironic in the sense that the music that they play sounds much more like the Bolt Thrower of Realm of Chaos than it does War Master. Anyway, I will say that War Master the band do play some excellent guttural crust that is tuned down so low that only elephants can actually hear all of it. Given that what they are trying to do is to mine a vein that another band fully established, War Master do an excellent job. They pay homage to the sound without trivializing it, and that is pretty impressive given what they’ve set out to do.

Magadh

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