Master’s Hammer “Ritual/Jilemnicky Okultista” 4 x LP Out Now
Master’s Hammer “Ritual/Jilemnicky Okultista” 4 x LP
The monoliths of black metal history are available again on vinyl format. This time properly mastered onto four separate 180 gram LPs for the best audio fidelity possible! Previous versions had more than 25 minutes of music crammed onto each side which resulted in reduced volume and low end. Now you can listen to the black metal perfection that is Master’s Hammer the way it was meant to be. All copies come housed in a luxurious quadruple gatefold jacket that was designed to mimic the old 78 “book” styled jackets. Die hard version on purple vinyl also includes a patch and turntable mat. Officially licensed from Osmose Productions France.
Both versions are now sold out from NWN.
Check out these killer Master’s Hammer videos from youtube:
Review of Ritual taken from Metal Archives. Written by Abominatrix.
“Starting off the proceedings is a sparse keyboard intro that might scare off a few people…at first I hated this bit and thought it would signify a CD full of the silliest sounding, cheapest Casio knockoff keys imaginable, I’ll be honest. However, about thirty seconds after the intro begins the whole band suddenly kicks in…and you’re struck by the incredible meatiness of the production. That’s right, a black metal album with an absolutely streamlined production…what the hell is going on? Often, I prefer a dirty, raw sound to accompany my metal, but I think for a release like this, where you really want to hear everything that’s going on, exactly, it’s best to have a crystaline sound. Even the intro managed to grow on me over time, and the way it suddenly and totally unexpectedly drops you into the first real song is amazing. That first song, “Pád modly”, is one of my personal favourites too. It features some powerful chugging riffage, some really cool almost Iron Maiden-ish (read “Phantom of the Opera”) melodic guitar interplay and a very minimal use of keyboards. The vocals on this whole album are insane. I spent quite a while trying to figure out how Franta Storm manages to sound so bloody weird throughout MH’s black metal career, and I think I have part of the answer…he’s inhaling while he’s screaming. Of course, I could be totally off the mark, but I think it explains part of why the vocals are so manic and sick sounding, that and the totally incomprehensible (to me) Czech Storm delivers at sometimes rapid-fire speeds. At the end of “Pád modly” he lets out some absolutely hair-raising howls, too, with reverb added to make them sound like some morbid spectral apparition from beyond. “Každý z nás ..
” is a faster, thrashier piece, and there are no trace of keyboards for the next few tracks. One of the things I love most about this album is the fact that each song contains an impressive number of sometimes fairly complex riffs, and the band executes all this with absolute precision. You can hear every note, every cymbal and tom fill (the drum sound is one of the best I’ve ever heard), and the mix is fairly bassy, although, like many a metal album, the actual bass itself just mirrors the guitar most of the time. The title track is a juggernaut of an instrumental that plows through magnificent riff after riff, then finally slows down with a powerful tympani crash (yes, they use tympanis, though they’re very minimal on this particular album), and going into a wailing lead part that’s both eerie and compellingly “metal”. “Jama Pekkal” is probably the grooviest song on the album, with a chorus I can actually “sing” along to, since it’s just the songtitle screamed with great gusto, à la great thrash metal. Then there’s what I think might be the absolute standout for me, “Útok”…which starts off with a killer bass riff before the rest of the band kicks in, and it’s another maniacal ride through the evil corners of a Bohemian occultist’s mind (hell, I don’t know what they’re singing about, but this song is dedicated to anton Lavey). You’ll recognize one of the melodies in this song, for it is the much-famed “Funeral Dirge”, or rather the first couple of bars of it, written by Chopin I believe. The keyboards make one of their very infrequent reappearances in this song, accenting the funeral dirge and adding a twisted counterpoint to its beautifully morbid excellence. And the ending! More of those inhuman, anguished howls!”
Review of Jilemnicky Okultista taken from Metal Archives. Wrtiten by Abominatrix
On this album, Master’s Hammer take a slightly different approach than on their superb debut, “Ritual”. This is a concept album, a “black metal operetta” as they referred to it, and is definitely progressive in the sense that the band throws in a lot of grand and peculiar ideas. Some of these ideas work amazingly well, whilst others do not. The silly band photos would pretty much let any black metal enthusiast know to tread carefully, in any case. It’s pretty run of the mill to try and be progressive and experimental in metal these days, but this wasn’t nearly so common, at least among black metal bands, back in 1993. I think this album was truly revolutionary, in terms of its execution and concept, and there’s nothing quite like it out there.
This is a black metal love story, of sorts. The main characters of the tale are a student of the occult, a beautiful witch and the Duke of the Jilemnice Castle. There’s a sort of love triangle going on, coupled with some magical/spiritual manifestations and the disgrace of various secondary parties. However, the concept will be lost on nearly everyone, as although the band has decided to include some rather silly sounding English translations of the song titles, there is not even an English summary of the concept within the CD booklet. Ah well, one can read up on this at master’s Hammer’s website. The story itself is pretty interesting, although it all seems to go a bit pear-shaped near the end and stops making any sort of sense…this could also be due to poor translation, I suppose. But what about the music itself?
Here, Master’s Hammer have taken the basic formula they worked with on “Ritual”, and added a few elements such as a very heavy use of tympanis and some computerized orchestration. Due to these additional elements, it seems they’ve also decided to strip down the riffing a little. The fabulous guitar riffs are still in tact, but they are a lot less frenetic and there are fewer of them in each track. Because of the tympanis, the standard drums, although still played, are relegated very much to the background of the mix this time, playing fast, semi-blastbeats and really letting the tympani do most of the over all rhythm work. This is probably one of the most unique features on this album, and although it takes some getting used to it actually does sound very good, though I wouldn’t want to see too many metal bands trying to emulate this technique. Add to all this a generally strange, non-standard use of melody and song structure and a very mysterious, magical atmosphere as befitting the story being told and one has an idea of what to expect. Unfortunately, a few of the songs just don’t really seem all that strong, and function mostly as vehicles for Franta Storm’s incomprehensible narrative. Luckily, at least half this album is really excellent, and the only other weak point I can single out is the synthesized bits..they sound…well, not cheap in the traditional sense, but sort of funny, rather off-kilter and jarring.
After a weird intro that starts with a sampled harp glissando, reminding one of a dream sequence in some surreal cartoon, or maybe a vaudeville comedy, the first song begins, and this is one of MH’s best. It starts out with an almost rock n roll riff, that wouldn’t be out of place on a Black Sabbath album..except there’s gliding harp strains being played over it that now add a sinister touch. The song glides through unexpected tangents, including a rather bright and cheerful piano solo and a strange bit of dissonant guitar noise and crazy, cackling laughter from Storm, who’s vocals are thankfully along the same spastic lines as they were on the previous album. The real highlight of “The Jilemnice Occultist”, though, is “I Don’t Want, Sirs, to Pester Your Ears”. Wow..the bombast and might of this track just has to be heard. It makes absolutely perfect use of the tympanis, includes some really excellent wailing, reverberating guitar leads and sounds like a fucking death march. Actually, I believe this song, lyrically, describes the Duke Von Satropold boasting of his hunting ability whilst drinking with his men. It’s suitably pompous and huge sounding, and it is just magnificent. “Glory, Glory, herr Heiptman” starts off with some really awkward sounding computer doodling that is reminiscent of an Atari video game gone wrong, however not long after this the band lurches into another powerful, uplifting bombastic piece that even features some decent tenor range singing from Storm. Finally, there’s “My Captain”, which, predictably, boasts a confident, militaristic feel and a simple yet very catchy melody that forms the basis for the entire song.