Genre: Black Metal
Country: Czech Republic
Label: Jihosound
Year: 2018

I feel that since FrantaŠtorm has turned the engine on the latest years, he tries to cover the lost ground of the band being inactive (1995-2009). The Czechs Master’s Hammer, return after two years and a rather mediocre Formulae of 2016 and give Fascinator, which wins the game this time. Carrying something from the mentality of Jilemnice Occultist, Fascinator sounds fresh, vicious and dark, without going close to the early era of the band, adding harmonically classical parts, percussion, electroncs, samples and a possible analogy to 666 International – all serving the composition, keeping the riffs and the leads in the front. Traditionally, we still don’t understand a work, since Master’s Hammer’s language is Czech (even though we have some exceptions in song titles like the orchestral outro “Lost in Fjords”, a tribute to their Scandinavian audience, where they also played live recently, and in “Espiritos Creativos” and it’s mellow melody on the piano. There is a background, eerie attitude, a well looking modernity (“Satanskánekrofilníporna”), brutal black metal (“Psychoparasit”), epic steps and expansions (“Exhumace”) and references to radical ecology (yes, that’s also there, in “Linkola”, a tribute to the Finnish PenntiLinkola and his ideas in reducing the human population in order to solve the environmental problem. There is a notable variety in themes and in the music anyway, making the album enjoyable. I admire Master’s Hammer: they were first to be original in a genre that later stagnated, they served black metal well (ok, they flirted with various sounds and still do, but still, that’s how the distanced themselves from the “intelligent black metal” bands and the traditional ones from the genre) and they do cause affection, due to their geographic location, which was difficult to get to because of the political circumstances in East Europe until the fall of the Iron Curtain, but with Franta himself, known and praised writer, author, teacher, painter (who also drew the great cover of Fascinator, and it is worth it to check his other work too). Special act, special music. I don’t know anyone else who would balance so nicely progressive and black metal, with a unique way: like if Psychotic Waltz played black metal in Into the Ever Flow, after listening to Heart of the Ages for a thousand times. Here, the “for fans of” is here for today.

4,5/6