Master from Chicago, Illinois are one of the living legends of death metal. They have been around for roughly thirty years, constantly fighting the ups and downs that come with being genre-defining, yet constantly and unjustly underrated. To celebrate one of the most controversial bands in (death) metal history, High Roller Records and Master-mind Paul Speckman now chose two classic Master albums for being reissued. Paul explains why it were „The Spirit Of The West“ and „Four More Years Of Terror“ that have been picked from the band’s back catalogue: “Actually, both of these records are killer masterpieces but were both issued with the availability of only two thousand copies of each record. People have to pay ridiculous prices at ebay for these records, so I thought I would re-release these records to give old and newer listeners a chance to purchase them at a reasonable price.”
Though originally released in 2004, the social and political criticism voiced on “The Spirit Of The West” has lost nothing of its sharpness: “The title speaks for itself. All the chaos and governmental control are ruining the original ideals that America had when the country was born. Freedom has become a thing of the past with all the cops, banks and politicians running the world and the USA in general.”
“The Spirit of The West” contains a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire“. Mr Cash passed away in 2003, so this year marks another anniversary, even though one that is not to be celebrated. Was this, too, a reason for choosing “The Spirit of the West“ for a re-release? Paul agrees: “Actually this had something to do with it as I was looking for a title and Andy at System Shock said maybe a Western theme would be cool, and so I went with it and wrote a few songs about the Indians and the deception of the US as they stole all their land and killed the buffalo.” Though being harsh in his criticism himself, and having moved away from the States himself years ago to live in the Czech Republic, Speckmann heavily warns us Europeans not to think better of us than we are: “I always like to point out that the Americans are all of European decent. So for all you American haters, get your head out of your asses, all the Americans came from Europe! I always say I am an American and proud of it regardless of the fact that I don't agree with the ideology of the controllers.” Paul surely is a man of frank opinions, nevertheless, “The Spirit Of The West” is just as much about music as it is about politics. It’s got all that is typical and good about Master: down-to-earth-Death Metal with a heavy thrash influence, at the same time not betraying its roots in early punk, and with Paul delivering those harsh vocals that have been one of Master’s unmistakable trademarks from the start.
Making “The Spirit Of The West” available on vinyl for the first time, Paul surely welcomes the vinyl revival we are currently witnessing, doesn’t he? Sure he does: “I have been re-issuing all the classic Master albums on vinyl and people across the world have been purchasing these limited editions. I personally like vinyl better than CD as it has a warm sounding feeling as well as you can appreciate the artwork better on a 12 inch record for sure!”
“The Spirit Of The West” comes with a brand new artwork, done by German illustrator Alexander von Wieding, who has already designed stunning cover artworks for bands as famous and diverse as Manilla Road, Nuclear Assault and Karma To Burn.
2013 is a year full of jubilees for both Speckmann and the band. The man himself is about to turn fifty, the band completes the third decade of its existence. Is this an occasion to look back, to see what Master have achieved so far, and to set further goals for the future? Not for Paul: “I never look back, I only live for the future and the future looks great for the band but for society as a whole The Future Is Bleak! We will continue to record and release new albums as well as tour, what else can there be in the future of a Metalhead?”