You can always count on LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR to kick it old school, kick pretense to the curb, and kick out the motherfuckin' jams. They've done it consistently over the course of three excellent albums of barbarian metal — "Carnage", "The Ultimate Destroyer", and "War Metal Battle Master" (all on Southern Lord) — and have done it again on "Evil Power", their first for The Grind-House Records.Make room on your year-end list now because "Evil Power" is right up there with the band's previous three masterpieces. Much like its predecessors, the disc exists, generally speaking, in a space occupied by the early works of CELTIC FROST and SLAYER, yet offers a style that is uniquely LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR; pumped full of steroids and slaying the weak with gigantic, bloodthirsty riffs, the growling bass lines of new member Nate Olp (DEMIRICOUS), and the mighty roar of Steven Rathbone, all delivered to your ears at volume levels exceeding 11. It is savage, it is ceremoniously carnivorous and intoxicated from the nectar of the gods, and it is as real as metal gets. The points of marginal distinction compared to the previous body of work are notable and include a slight changeup in Rathbone's vocals to a more enunciating, moderately less distorted vocal style on several songs (whilst retaining the blood curdling screams), which is most apparent on "Attack the Gods". You'll also notice that several tracks are kept relatively short (around two minutes or less), such as "Riders of Skullhammer, We Ride the Night", "Goatstorm" (an overwhelming evil one minute and 44 seconds), "Hunt and Devour", and "Metal Titans", all of which remind of a DARKTHRONE punk aesthetic reinterpreted for death/thrash metal. The emphasis on unforgettable riffs remains as well, but the band works accent twists into the mix by incorporating a harmony guitar part on "We are Hades" — a warrior anthem with an unforgettable mantra to go with a little Bronze-era MOTÖRHEAD — and a nefarious John Christ (DANZIG) melody (think "Snakes of Christ") on "Blood from the Witch's Vein". Speaking of anthems, "Let's Kill these Motherfuckers" just became LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR's new call to arms and "Death March of the Conquerors" serves as another vengefully homicidal tune with politically correct lyrics like "These fucking cunts fight like women!" Nobody ever accused LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR of subterfuge or understatement. Finally, a guest appearance by none other than former USURPER front man General Diabolical Slaughter pushes the righteousness needle into the red. Forget the hyperbole and damn the posers, Chicago's heavy metal commando unit has taken the hill and planted its flag, impaling you with the pole in the process. Blood encrusted, testosterone fueled battle thrash is what you need and "Evil Power" scratches that nagging itch. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!
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