Masters Of Hate is a wonderfully devious album, a sneaky beast that immediately introduces itself with some fine urgent metal to engage the senses with relative ease. It is after departing its powerful charms though that one realises all the time it has worked far deeper than first imagined, the triumphant brute reappearing in the head from nowhere with riffs that deny all other thoughts and melodies that hungrily stir the mind. Swedish progressive death metalers Desultor have created one of those releases that initially grabs attention and nodding praise upon first listen but is all the time leaving deeply laid hooks and lures to reel one back in whenever it wishes. A dark satisfying and exhilarating experience that never stops bringing forth flavoursome pleasure each time it plays with the ears.
Desultor consists of drummer Michael Ibrahim and guitarist/vocalist Markus Joha, the duo forming the band in 2007. After an acclaimed demo and promo in 2008 and 2009 respectively Masters of Hate is their debut album and first with US death metal label Abyss Records. With the label one would expect another traditional death metal release but Desultor bring much more to their sound though the base is seeded in the heart of the genre. With intelligent guitar work, striking progressive invention and melodies, and excellent clean fuelled vocals the release is surprising, unpredictable, and thoroughly infectious. Muscular and intense the album holds its violence in check to consume with an incessant wearing attack. This makes an album that takes its time to command the senses but once inside the experience is thoroughly fulfilling.
Split into two chapters, each marked with a well crafted instrumental, Masters of Hate recorded and mastered by Sverker Widgren at Sweden’s Necromorbus Studios, takes no time in overwhelming the ear. First full track after the opening haunting instrumental Black Monday thumps on the door with heavy drums and energy before bursting through with thunderous riffs and harsh caustic guitars straining at the leash. As the thrash powered sound expands and the rock vocals of Joha fill the song wonderfully, the unexpected kicks in and one takes time to adjust as the dawning of something special sweeps over the senses.
Throughout the album the guitars craft a wall of sound that wears down the defences whilst at the same time bringing concise and varied ventures into progressive sounds, their creativity tight and sharp. Songs like the passion driven And So We Bleed and Caged, a track that runs with the senses like a wild animal, stand tall with destructive intensity and antagonistic contagious energy. The skill and diversity within Masters Of Hate is as impressive as the sounds the duo rile up the senses with, inventive and startling the album blindsides expectations beautifully making the release rise above the majority of death metal powered releases elsewhere.
One imagines there will be differing favourite tracks for individuals due to the high level of creation within the album, but here the title track and the magnificent Denied stand tall amongst the giants within the album. The first bristles with bulging riffs and assertive intensity as its call to arms anthemic energy drills as deep as the intense groove that spines the track whilst the latter of the two is pure rampaging potency. Denied holds dominion over the ear and beyond with its masterful annihilatory power, the senses feeling like the legend of Canute.
Masters Of Hate is a triumph of an album, a pleasure to feast upon as one constantly finds new spices with every delving. It is a release that needs more than one visit to fully experience all of its wealth but the rewards are deep and invigorating. Desultor are a band to set the heart racing and to give death and progressive metal an inspired shot in the arm.