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Master’s Hammer – Vagus Vetus


Last Updated on 11:49 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Experimental Black Metal
Country: Czech Republic
Label: Jihosound Records
Year: 2014


Master’s Hammer really shined in the early nineties, with their two first albums, ‘Ritual’ and ‘The Jilemnice Occultist’, before split up (only for a while, though) in 1995 with their farewell album ‘Slagry’. They came back, years later, in 2009 with ‘Mantras’, while in 2012 they released the almost-masterpiece ‘Vracejte Κonve Νa Μísto’. That release gained highly positive responds and reviews, and, probably, it was the reason that ‘forced’ them to create their own label. So, via their Jihosound Records, the group released this year, its sixth album ‘Vagus Vetus’.

The change in their logo accompanied with the intro ‘αιολος I.’ scared me, bringing in mind the non-metal album ‘Slagry’ (I really expected a powerful follow-up and not just an easy listening). But the cover artwork (of the same style with ‘Vracejte …’) put my heart in its place!

Starting with the weak moments of the album, i think that the production and the plastic-sounding drumming will annoy some listeners, without ruining, in a big degree, the whole result, though. Additionally, the use of the Czech language, a language with a rough accent, may sound hostile to many ears. Nevertheless, it is the Czech language itself that provides the obscure feeling and the distinctive atmosphere of their music.

Musically, this record flirts with the almost-extreme black metal genre. Fast tempos, black metal riffing with plenty thrash elements, suitable vocal delivery. In general, it is not a 100% guitar-ladden record, like its predecessor, but it focuses in the smooth combination of the vocals with the guitars, drumming and the use of keys. Great tempo variety with enough surprises in the song structure and diverse sounds. The ‘tag’ experimental is basically given to their sound because of the keyboard use and because of the presence of the weird clear vocals. Unexpected chants, catchy -in times hilarious and unearthly- clear vocals, off-tempo synths, elements that break the classic black metal rules, but manage to boost the creativity of the weirdo-Czechs.

If only ‘Vracejte Konve Na Misto’ have never been released, we could speak for their strongest release (of their second era). Unfortunately, comparisons are inevitable, though. Fans of the group will totally get satisfied, will listen to the album many times and they will buy it for sure. For the rest of the listeners, this release is going to be a pleasant surprise. Tremendous atmosphere, with songs for all the tastes, like the nostalgic ‘V Aiolských Harfách’, the groovy, tribal, psychedelic ‘Špacírka’, the weird ‘Nengemengelengem’.

Nikos Nakos
Nikos Nakos
“When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money.”

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