Vracejte Konve Na Misto
posted on 5/2012 By:
Although rising out of the tape-trading culture of the underground 80s, Master’s Hammer has long been thought of as the Czech branch of black metal’s second wave, probably because their excellent early works were contemporaneous to those of the Mayhems and Darkthrones of the world. Despite their quality and timeliness, they never received the recognition of their more infamous Northern brethren (I've only become more than casually familiar with them in the last year), but that has not deterred them from still releasing music more than 25 years after their formation. Vracejte konve na místo, their fifth proper full length, finds the band focused and in top form. Top, completely rockin’, and hard-to-pinpoint-as-ever form.
Being hard to pinpoint is basically Master’s Hammer’s whole smackin’ shtick. In a sense, Master’s Hammer circa 2012 is still black metal, but there are very few blast beats or tremolo patterns, the atmosphere is more an effect of the instrumentation than the production techniques, and the entire platter just rocks too much to toss it on the extreme side of the line. The extra instrumentation – trippy keyboards, oodles of mouth harp, sound effects, and touches of flute – are tossed all over the place, but nothing seems more than a fun flair, as the riffs, drums, and vocals are always the main attraction. The vocals themselves, having an Abbath or even Dagon quality, are firmly rooted in black metal tradition, but don’t feel out of place in the band’s hybrid world. There’s even a touch of the so-called avant-garde (the Solefald form, not the Unexpect one), as heard on the mildly industrial “Pantheismus dobra,” but even these traits don’t define the band or album.
No, what defines Vracejte konve na místo is the consistently strong songwriting and the fact that it makes no illusions about what it is: a heavy metal record. Despite all of the extra stuff tacked on, this is all about the infectious riffs, the forward momentum, and being pure entertainment for band and audience alike. There are heaps of instruments and melodies, but if one thing gives the album legs it isn’t the depth of these layers, but the hidden variations between the songs. From the pummeling impacts of “Ve víchru nicoty” to the hooky chorus of the title track, each tune begins to reveal its independent value as familiarity is gained.
Quite honestly, if things about Vracejte konve na místo seem a tad odd, it is because Master’s Hammer itself isn’t a conventional group of dudes, and therefore their attempts to make easy-to-digest heavy and black metal come across as something different. As fans, we reap this unique nature. There is a ton discover here for those who look, and parts of it may appear strange to the casual listener, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a complex or strange album. At its roots it is just a damn fine heavy metal album, specific styles, extra instrumentation, or variances from the norm be damned. And maybe that is what gives it such life and longevity. Like Master’s Hammer itself, it’s only as weird as you want it to be. Get riffin’.
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