Lair of the Minotaur

Evil Power

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Lair of the Minotaur's fourth full-length CD is also their first on their own label, The Grind-House. Their sound remains exactly the same, though -- ultra-primitive, downtuned thrash riffs and harshly bellowed lyrics about war, violence, and destruction. Their early fixation on Greek mythology (hence the band name) has expanded over the course of three previous albums into a more general kill-kill-kill philosophy, which is exemplified here by songs like "Death March of the Conquerors," "Hunt and Devour," and the self-explanatory "Let's Kill These Motherfuckers." Indeed, Evil Power is frequently so over the top it's easy to wonder if Lair of the Minotaur have stumbled -- or willfully leapt -- into self-parody. The cover art, featuring a bullgod seated on a massive throne with equally massive axes behind him, suggests the bandmembers, guitarist/vocalist/bandleader Steven Rathbone in particular, are definitely in on the joke. But from a listener's standpoint, particularly one who's been along for the ride since the beginning, the LOTM schtick may feel a bit thin on album number four. The riffs aren't any less heavy, the lyrics aren't any less brutal, the performances aren't any less committed or ferocious, and the production is just as crushing as it's always been. But that's the problem. Lair of the Minotaur stand out from the metal pack for their head-down, barbaric, punky thrash. But they're pretty clearly in a stylistic rut, making one album all anyone really needs -- and 2006's The Ultimate Destroyer, not this one, is LOTM's masterpiece.

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