Lair of the Minotaur The Ultimate Destroyer

After the teaser Cannibal Massacre EP last fall, Chicago retrocore luminaries Lair of the Minotaur continue their trend of old school death/thrash with grimy production started with their Carnage debut. With his lyrics steeped in Greek mythology, guitarist/main throat Steven Rathbone delivers headlong metal as if Celtic Frost played Darkthrone through blown amps. Opener "Juggernaut of Metal” mixes the wicked throb of Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. with the unintentional lyrical camp of Manowar’s The Triumph of Steel. "Behead the Gorgon” sports some well-placed Slayer riffs and overwrought blast beats and "Grisly Hound of the Pit” wields plenty of rhythmic, Obituary-styled guitar throbs. "Lord of Butchery” plays the band’s frayed black metal card, while "The Hydra Coils upon this Wicked Mountain” slows down to Reverend Bizarre speed to highlight the chordage whose edges are tipped in feedback. The weakest link here is drummer Larry Herweg, also of noisecore pushers Pelican, who simply plays too loosely on tape — as if he doesn’t have the stamina to keep up with the band. Then again, Rathbone likes his meat raw and bloody, and coupled with the over-fuzzed production filth, LOTM flex their metal muscles ad nauseam, resulting in a sound that’s more fulfilling than throwback bands Wolf or Dragonforce. (Southern Lord)