Written by: PP on 08/01/2009 13:46:42

HouseMaster is another Italian metal band who have been sending us demos and EPs for quite some time. What's interesting about these guys is that they are clearly improving year on year, slowly approaching a working formula, even if it still seems awfully distant after their third EP "J.B.", which is under consideration here. Basically, these guys are still having hard-ons over 80s Slayer and Metallica material, that is if both bands recorded their really early stuff in "St. Anger" quality. But hey, you can't blame an unsigned band for not having incredible production just yet...even though we have grown to expect that given the relative cheapness of home-recording technology these days.

I'm just gonna be brutally honest and call "Electrical Saint", "Faceless Man", "Twisted" and "In Times Of War" horrible tracks that have no chance of making it high on anyone's playlist. The unoriginal style combined with the awful lo-fi garage production makes these tracks a burden to listen to, much like their previous two EPs in their entirety. Before I go any further, some credit must be given to the pummeling bass player on "Faceless Man" though because he is awesome - with the style he's using he should really be in a melodic punk rock band instead because bass-lines like his are how seminal punk rock albums are made, think Lifetime or Dillinger Four here. They are less fitting to a metal album, though. But at the same time, there are two songs on this EP that are actually really nice. Lets start with the title track that has an awesome vocal/riff interplay, both climbing up and down a scale together, resulting in me nodding my head to the rhythm of the song. I wish they would've explored this angle a little more on the other tracks as well. The playing is also tighter and more convincing here, as if the band itself realized that this is one of their better songs to date.

However, it is "The Hell Swallow You" where I really started thinking about HouseMaster as a band with some serious potential. Even if the track starts out with generic thrash riffing and the same grunted vocal work as on all their previous releases, it soon follows the route of the title track by adding some semi-clean vocals following a really nice riff, and I mean REALLY nice, this is the most original stuff these guys have written and the sudden injection of melody into their thrash works wonders here. The solo allows the guitarist to properly demonstrate his axe-wielding capability to the fullest, and I have to say that's the best solo these guys have composed to date. The all-instrumental bridge that follows just demands the air guitar to be pulled out, before the awesome scaling verse riff/vocal interplay returns: I said it before and I'll say it again, this is fucking awesome stuff guys.

Was it not for the other tracks on the album, "J.B." and "The Hell Swallow You" could alone pull the album up a grade or perhaps even two. Two songs don't make an album/EP though, so I can't properly reward the band through our rating system. However, now they've finally got a real basis of originality from which to develop their own identity, and if their next batch of songs is anywhere on the level of "The Hell Swallow You", I wouldn't be surprised if these guys were snatched by a label very quickly afterwards.


Download: The Hell Swallow You, J.B.
For the fans of: Slayer, Metallica, 80s thrash
Listen: Myspace

Release date October 2008

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