LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR
"The Ultimate Destroyer"

(Southern Lord)

01. Juggernaut of Metal
02. Behead the Gorgon
03. The Ultimate Destroyer
04. Lord of Butchery
05. Grisly Hound of the Pit
06. Cannibal Massacre
07. Horror
08. Engorged With Unborn Gore
09. The Hydra Coils Upon This Wicked Mountain

RATING: 8/10

You knew it would only get bloodier after Chicago's LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR (LOTM) hacked and stabbed with murderous metal rage and old school spirit on 2004's "Carnage". On "The Ultimate Destroyer", lyrical themes based on the savage end of Greek Mythology (with poetic license liberally taken) once again meet a loud, distorted, and riff-drenched approach that takes cues from the likes of (early) SLAYER, CELTIC FROST, and VENOM. And yet LOTM's uniquely loose and ragged attack does not sound quite like any other band.

What it comes down to is Steven Rathbone (7000 DYING RATS) firing off a slew of ravaging riffs while barking/screaming is ass off, Donald James Barraca (7000 DYING RATS) building giant walls of bass buzz and rumble, and drummer Larry Herweg (PELICAN) playing the role of God of Thunder. Take cover, kids, this magnificent noise gives special meaning to the phrase, "loud and proud." Rathbone's shouts of "I stand on this hill, my will is law, for meat I kill" to begin the album-opening statement of metallic ferocity called "Juggernaut of Metal" sets the tone in a big way. The more blood spilled, the more wild-eyed and rabid the trio becomes.

Rathbone's goal of packing every song with only the coolest parts (and tastiest riffs) has been met and exceeded here. It could be the mix of war-march chug exploding into up-tempo mass murder of "Behead the Gorgon", the one-minute bludgeoning of "Lord of Butchery", or a battle hymn called "The Hydra Coils Upon this Wicked Mountain", but the result is always the same: An open field strewn with impaled bodies. If it is highlights you want, then look no further than what is arguably the band's most effective arrangement, "Cannibal Massacre", a song that builds from nerve-racking tenseness to volcanic eruption, and includes backing vocals from Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION). The title track succeeds for similar reasons, while "Horror" inflicts pain in a slower, more measured kind of way, albeit without a hint of subtly. And no one should be surprised that Sanford Parker is the man responsible for recording these acts of atrocity.

You speak of real metal and you have not experienced LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR? Shame on you. You need this album.

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