(The Grind-House)

01. Godslayer
02. The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas

RATING: 8.5/10

Chicago sludge-thrashers LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR are hardly shy. If you've ever seen their gonzo "War Master" video, you know just about anything goes with these guys, so long as one, it's brutally heavy and two, it's contained within the realm of pulp fantasy. Gore, T&A, sword-cleaving mayhem in "War Master", all set to the tune of thundering metallic chaos. You get the idea. Hardly content to settle for playing a blitzed-out, chum-filled style of grit metal, these guys even issued their own hops, Evil Power Imperial Pilsner, to herald the release of their previous full-length, "Evil Power".

In 2010, founding member Steven Rathbone started his own label along with band mate Chris Wozniak, The Grind-House Records, an affiliate of the band's longtime recording host, Southern Lord. After a small break, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR gets back on their bloody warpath with a new two track EP, "Godslayer".

If you've been reading Jason Aaron's terrific and often risqué "Thor: God of Thunder" series over at Marvel comics, you'll no doubt draw an immediate correlation between LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR and Aaron's hefty God Butcher epic. A lot of metalheads appear to be hooked on this series if you scan over "God of Thunder"'s mail section. Thus the "Godslayer" EP delivers a chewy fit to the proposal of a solitary wraith hell-bent on ridding the cosmos of every known deity in the universe.

The title track gallops on the crests of punched-up rhythms from Chris Wozniak and inflictive bass rumbles from Nate Olp, who keeps double time with black-thrashers DEMIRICOUS. Steven Rathbone chugs through a succession of nasty, swampy riffs and hideous roars on the mike. Heaped together, "Godslayer" grinds and thrashes in trafficked sequences that summon gales of blood-flung carnage. The wicked fast and drop-tuned second track "The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas" is enough to leave any jaded headbanger satiated, particularly when the chaos slows to a tone-drenched doom crawl. Capped by a creepy synthesizer straight out of the leagues of "Phantasm", "The Black Heart of the Stygian Drakonas" is both exhausting and exhilarating.

Two songs clocking within nine minute total running time, yet LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR dishes a bounty of crusty speed and chomping chord structures with the same reliability that's been their m.o. They've always been one of the coolest of their ilk, but "Godslayer" seems to hint at something even more fantastic to come. Hammers and maces are prerequisite.


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