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Master's Hammer: From Best To Worst


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The new Master's Hammer is out: Fascinator !

On this occasion I wanted to replunge myself in their discography, and dress a best to worst list just to get my thoughts clear about Master's Hammer, and maybe also guide some new listeners. I'll be semi-reviewing each album chronologically throughout this intro, and the best to worst list comes next.

You can freely check the full album on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_AsSmJOmc4) or bandcamp (https://mastershammer.bandcamp.com/album/fascinator)
And don't forget to support the band buying their album and stufff !
(https://www.jihosound.com/) (http://www.mastershammer.com/)

Albums review:


=== 1987 & 1988 demos. The Ritual Murder & Finished

They're early demos, right, they both have an awful sound, the singing is a bit off and the music is regular black metal. The esthetics and satanic themes are also habitual. There's very little experimentation with some sounds, or drum patterns, or odd ways to phrase riffs or solos, but nothing really noteworthy. Master's Hammer is at the embryonic stage, and the few tracks resembling them are "Hodokvas", "Hymna Cerné Krve" and "Za smlouvou pekelnou". You will love these records if you're a trve kvltist, otherwise you can skip them.


=== 1989, 1990 & 1991. The Mass, The Fall Of Idol demos & Ritual

These are the first reasons for MH's fame, many black metal were inspired by their raw sound and riffing, and the album Ritual stands as a classic of the genre. The demos are very similar to Ritual and feature a lot of songs in common. The Fall Of Idol is actually like one half of Ritual. Although being undoubtly their most black metal LP - in the sense of darker atmosphere, but also in terms of more conventionnal writing - already, most of their identifiable attributes are there: the choir synths, the humor and evil laughters, the horrendous high pitched black metal voice, the opera-like gesticulations, the mercyless 160bpm blastbeats, the tympani !... I won't discuss this album's might, go listen to it if you haven't, it's a true classic with awesome songs for start to finish (perhaps maybe a bit weaker on the end).


=== 1992. The Jilemnice Occultist

Now let's add some real weirdness to the recipe. Predominant tympan! grandiloquent songs! It is still in the black metal vein, and the sound reminds me of Bathory some times, but they took it to the next level. There are even some very modern touches such as the marimba intro of Slava, Herr Hauptmann.

From the drafts, The Jilemnice Occultist can seem awesome, but unfortunately the composition isn't as efficient as Ritual's and the listener is more likely to feel bored after some point, because of the rather stale inflexions, the very similar melodies in each song, when it's not plain riff recycling. I was surprised how difficult it is to withstand listening to it in one sitting when I came back to it. Anyway it has its whole lot of great moments.


=== 1995. lágry

lágry is the most experimental album of the band, and also one of the worst album ever made, I guess. MH wanted to evolve into something new, test different formulas from varied influences, and were also very much deprived of their band members, with only two remaining. Hum... yeah... I could say that the result is """interesting""" with a lot of inverted comas, but that's not even the case. The time spent listening to this album - just out of curiosity - is wasted, as the songs lack structure, melody, integrity, timbre, it's just not enjoyable in any way. It doesn't even resemble the band, part from the first and last songs. By the way Hlava Modernistova is the sole and only takeaway.

EDIT: I've come to peace with this album. It's not as bad as I said. I can enjoy it now, but it's still a very weird experience. It's just unique and defying all expectations.


=== 2009. Mantras

First iterration of the modern MH, Mantra is pretty disappointing. First of all, it's not really a black metal release. Secondly, MH isn't a band that takes themselves seriously, but on this album it's hard for us too to take them seriously, nothing really makes the job - Storm's voice, that sounds weak and completely forced, the organ, the falsetto singing out of tune, the clear singing with weird intonations, all of that feels out of place and akward in a bad way. In fact all of this stuff are premises to the next albums, but their applications here were clumsy. This being said, some songs stand out, like Tympan, Bodhi or Ganesha Mantra.


=== 2012. Vracejte Konve Na Misto

This one is a successful retake, proving that the modern MH could get somewhere. The compositon is solid, all tunes are catchy, and I suppose well-writen, as most of the fans bring out. I can't speak Czech, but one an appreciate the work on the rhymes, which is unexpected for this kind of vocals.

It has a richer sound, with a lot of things going on, the tympani are still there but more discrete, the bass is very much audible, and diverse instruments are used for backing parts. The use of exotic percussions on Sumava, Lingam A Mikve and Pantheismus Dobra is very interesting, and the improvement on singing as well: the falsetto and opera parts at last add something to the atmosphere, and the band injected whistling and sygyt to some songs. As a conclusion an excellent album.


=== 2014. Vagus Vetus

This album was my first introduction to MH, and needless to say it was pretty intriguing. This album is the most black-metal like of the modern era, with a less eclectic sound, tearing over saturated tremolo riffs, more blastbeats, and the tympani is back under the spotlight. The traditionnal influences sound more Blakanic than anything else this time.

Xmz overwhelmed me. And the next songs too... Perhaps this album is a bit too overwhelming, and the dosage slighlty out of balance. Also the composition is more direct and often alternates between melodicly sung choruses and more aggressive parts, in a way which end up being repetive, just as one third of each song could be removed without harming the album's integrity. The work on percussions is still there, but they seem less imbricated with the general structure of a song, and only operate as small breaks. Still, the album has a few great moments (The Receptura intro omg) and lots of good songs.


=== 2016. Formulae

The first track Den Nicoty is a really good start. But then it's Mantras all over again. We are thrown at a bunch of electronical sounds or other musical choices putting off the music. Hence the immersing is harder, and furthermore the album lacks some great moments, and is rather boring. The only impression remaining after listing to this is that they could have done better.


=== 2018. Fascinator

And they did ! The 2018 vintage tops the previous ones in my opinion. In the same way that Vracejte Konve Na Misto is Mantras' sophomore, this album takes the ideas of Formulaes and apply them better. This time the falsetto voices are a little more textural and weave better with the synths. They also notably achieve not to be goofy at all (maybe except on Odliv mozků). The percussions are perfectly integrated to the music, and overall the album feels tighter than the other.

The transition between verses and choruses sound more natural than usual too, and the choruses enhance the melodies, by suddenly giving depths to the music with choirs and other instruments doubling the phrase. They really stand out in this album, espescially for the first track Fascinator.

The second one Psychoparasit is thrashy and efficient, and the next tracks share the same impetus. They transition well from one another, developping the same material over the first half of the album, without losing one's interest. Krokodil sets another pace, and then Astrální dvojníci ouvertures the second half of the album, a bit slower and also more experimental. So far there isn't any dead time. The consideration given to the album-scale dynamics makes this album way easier to listen from start to finish, while there was usually always some way to get off the music.

If I ever was to complain about this album I'd say it's some Master's Hammer mixture, a big bowl of Czech soup, that is delicious, but the recipe is becoming well-known. Anyway that was the best slurp imo !

Created by: Ansercanagicus | 17.02.2018



1. EARLY ERA
2. Master's Hammer - Ritual
1991 black metal classic and great album
3. Master's Hammer - The Jilemnice Occultist
1992 great album with more experimentation
4. Master's Hammer - The Mass
1989 draft for Ritual
5. Master's Hammer - The Ritual Murder
1987 early demo with a couple of nice tracks
6. Master's Hammer - Finished
1988 early demo sounding more evil, but less interesting imo.
7. THIS WEIRD THING
8. Master's Hammer - lágry
1995 first and last tracks are good, the rest is bewildering
9. MODERN ERA
10. Master's Hammer - Fascinator
2018 great result on top of the previous albums
11. Master's Hammer - Vracejte Konve Na Místo
2012 a lot of great experimental tunes
12. Master's Hammer - Vagus Vetus
2014 cool and heavy but a bit dragging
13. Master's Hammer - Mantras
2009 first modern album, good but sounding too weak imo
14. Master's Hammer - Formulae
2016 have good moments but is overall boring



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Ansercanagicus ]



Comments

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Comments: 3   Visited by: 16 users
24.01.2019 - 15:58
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I seem to remember their demos being talked about a lot too, how would you rank those?
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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24.01.2019 - 16:05
Ansercanagicus
endangered bird
I never heard of them, I'll look for it
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2019 - 2020 - 2021
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24.01.2019 - 17:22
Ansercanagicus
endangered bird
I updated the list, I may add singles, splits and EPs too
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2019 - 2020 - 2021
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