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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Review: Minotaur - Beast Of Nations

Ah Minotaur. What is there to tell about this band that probably hasn't been said a thousand times before. Started in 1983 as part of the Teutonic thrash movement. Released a few demo's and ep's and ultimately got overtaken by the more famous German thrash acts Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Faded into relative obscurity with the exception of a group of Die Hard fans.

Now, 7 years after their last full length "God May Show You Mercy...We Will Not" they are back with a new mini album containing 4 new tracks clocking in at around 15 minutes in total. Personally I find that in 6 years it should've been possible to come up with more material. But I will judge this record based upon that which is presented.

For those of you that haven't heard of Minotaur before. Minotaur plays thrash in the German sense of the word. So less melodic then most American acts. More in the vein of old Sodom, Destruction and especially Kreator. Fans of the genre will recognize a Mille Petrozza like quality in Andi Richwien's vocals. According to Minotaurs bio they "avoid innovation like the plague". After listening to the tracks a couple of times I can only agree. I can also only say this is a good thing.

Opener 27 dead (with guest solo by Wes Rhodes of Dekapitator fame) immediately blasts out of your speakers at full speed and has your head banging from the get go. The song blends fast parts with the occasional groovy riff that avoids the song getting stale. Most of this song (and indeed most of the album) is fast though.

The next track Beast of Nations is even faster and has that typical German "thrash that is slightly black metal in its riffing and insane tempo's" style that we all love. It is here that we truly see what the band is capable of. It's amazing how 3 people can create such a wall of sound. The heavy but crisp production only enhances that.

Standout track for me is the next track Ignite Me that makes me windmill and air guitar every single time I listen to it. The mid tempo ending only enhances the power of the track.

Closing track Skipping the Sin starts with a punk inspired guitar riff and thrashes away at high tempo before once again plodding along in a heavy mid tempo groove. This feels like the least song on the album though I couldn't tell you why. It just doesn't grip me or hold up well against the other 3 tracks. The abrupt ending doesn't help in that at all.

All in all I can understand why Minotaur never made it as big as their fellow countrymen. Though I am a great fan of the band and genuinely wish they had made it I can understand why they haven't. Their music, whilst perfect for what they do just doesn't seem distinctive enough to please the more casual metal listener or the ones that aren't big thrash fans. In other words, Minotaur probably hasn't got as much crossover appeal with death and black metal fans as the Teutonic big 3 have. I would love nothing more than to give this album an outrageously high score. Realistically though I can't. Once again this album. Whilst definitely enjoyable will probably do nothing to enhance their career. And that's sad. As this is a great record. I will definitely blast this one a lot over the next couple of years. If you are a fan of unrelenting thrash. I advise you to do the same. Also, an extra point for the amazingly fitting artwork of Phil Lawvere.

Score: 81/100

1. "27 Dead"
2. "Beast of Nations"
3. "Ignite Me"
4. "Skipping the Sin

Written by Doctor Chris

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