Album Review: Lair of the Minotaur - "Evil Power"
At some point, heavy metal is subject to the very same rules as quality hot sauce. You can't just burn people out with extreme heat; you have to actually give them some flavor. Lair of the Minotaur brings it hot and heavy; the beats are punishing, the guitars a distorted, rhythmic quagmire and the vocals are brutal and challenging. Still, there's only a fleeting glimpse of actual flavor.
The best way I can describe “Evil Power” is that it's akin to listening to a pair of jeans bang around in the dryer. Sure, it's making a lot of noise, but it's the same noise in the same repetition ad nauseum.
I should give the band some credit. Like GWAR or Abscess, Lair of the Minotaur is not afraid to "go there." No subject is off limits, no lyric or conjured mental imagery is too visceral or acerbic. To that end, the band not only confronts those images head on, but does so with a certain calculated (and possibly tongue-in-cheek) malice.
Also to their credit, Lair of the Minotaur doesn't disguise their music with a veneer of ceaseless noise. It would have been easy to simply throw a wall of interrupted noise over some growling vocals and call it an album. Instead, Lair of the Minotaur attempted to have some measure of actual song crafting. The opening track, “Attack the Gods” is a pretty catchy tune if you can slice through some of the morass and pay attention to the core riff.
Right after that though, “Let’s Kill These Motherf*ckers” and “Riders of Skullhammer, We Ride the Night” feel like the same tone in a slightly different tune. The cadence is nearly identical, and the lack of more than elementary chord progressions makes them too similar for comfort.
A song like “Goatstorm” is an addled, dirge-y pile of sonic assault, but in its own way is almost refreshing for being a departure from all the songs that had come prior.
I can take a certain enjoyment in “Evil Power” in light of the fact that most of the songs are essentially two minute vignettes of extreme metal fury. Through that lens, the album is almost Misfits-esque, the idea being that if you throw everything at the wall, the sheer base infectiousness of the simple riffs will help some of it stick. Cap that run off with one of the album’s bright spots “We Are Hades,” and Lair of the Minotaur can at least take some pride in what they’ve created.
Bottom line, “Evil Power” just plain lacks variety. It has a certain over-the-top charm, but that feeling fades with multiple listens. Really, I can’t stress this enough, it sounds the same from track one to track eleven. It also sounds exactly like every other Lair of the Minotaur album. They’re a one-trick pony, so if you didn’t like them before, or if you don’t like the one song you try out, just skip the whole thing.