Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lair of the Minotaur: Evil Power (2010) Review

Lair of the Minotaur is equally a part of the thrash metal revival and the rise of sludge metal spurred by the success of Mastodon. Their new release, Evil Power, blends these two styles perfectly.

The sound is just as much early Mastodon as it is Exodus, combining the highly distorted, dense, feedback-laden sludge elements with the speed and ferocity of thrash.

Their attitude is definitely focused on metal purity, with violent lyrics based in a metal-idealized version of the past--sort of like Viking metal, but set in ancient Greece. But they don't go in the silly direction of singing about metal, as some do. They have hit on that lyrical sweet spot where everything they say is so over-the-top it could be hilarious, but it's delivered with absolute conviction. The upshot is you can take it whichever way you prefer. The heavy layering of profanity could be a turnoff for some, though.

The songs are short, some only about 1:30 and a couple clocking in just over 4 minutes. The good part is this keeps even the shortest attention spans happy, but the bad part is the whole album only measures half an hour long. All of the songs are interesting, and all are uncompromisingly metal (you will find no ballads here). The only low point, musically, is the first two minutes of "Death March of the Conquerors," which is basically a 300-inspired speech; it will please some because of its content, but it's kind of ridiculous to have a two minute intro to a two minute song, especially where the rest of the album is so focused and driving.

I can't find a video on Youtube for this album yet, but this NSFW video should give you an idea what they're about. (Warning: It looks like an ultra-gory History Channel reenactment, with scantily clad and nude vampire chicks thrown in for good measure.)

The Verdict: Evil Power shows that Lair of the Minotaur is dedicated to pure metal virtues, and they combine two mostly-American metal styles expertly. Nothing high-minded here, but instead they've recorded what could be 300: The Musical. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely looking forward to picking this one up. I have enjoyed this band for a couple of years now.