Notorious both for his mighty beard and his strong opinions, Paul Speckmann from Chicago, Illinois is one of the loudest and most significant voices in (thrashened) Death Metal. His band Master belongs to the longest lasting constants in that field of music, forever shunning all trends or the “need” for a “modern” sound. Master first formed in 1983, rising from the ashes of Paul’s former bands War Cry and Death Strike, and in spite of a long list of line up changes and troubles with getting out their first proper release (their debut, simply titled “Master”, was released in 1990 on German label Nuclear Blast) Master have been alive, kicking and massively influential ever since, as Paul claims: “It's common knowledge that a large portion of the original underground scene that thrives even today were influenced by the early Speckmann demos. We don't need to bother naming names here but the truth hurts sometimes for many people.” Why should we not name names here? Highly prolific bands such as Napalm Death, Obituary and Exhumed make no secret of the fact that Master had a massive influence on their own music from the very beginning. Nevertheless, it’s a shame that up to this day, Master never really received the recognition they deserved. To help make up for this, High Roller Records are now re-releasing two Master-pieces which have never been available on vinyl before. Both albums were released in a limited edition of 2000 copies only and now sell for astronomic prices on ebay and the likes, therefore Paul decided to have them re-released in an adequate way: “The material on these records is very strong and aggressive so why not share these once again with the masses?”
“Four More Years Of Terror” first saw the light of day in 2005 and was welcomed by reviewers as another great piece of work, combining all that is typical and outstanding about the band’s sound, who like to keep it plain and simple: “Four more years of terror” is old school death / thrash to the bone, a feast for all those raised on a rotten diet of Possessed, Motörhead, Venom and Slayer. Topped with a crust reeking of punk and spiced with true underground flavour, Master serve you killer riffs, relentless drumming and a dirty, driving bass.
Just as he did for “The Spirit Of The West”, German illustrator and artist Alexander von Wieding has given the album art of “Four More Years Of Terror” a complete makeover, replacing the charming old school girl with a more dramatic and more fitting image. Paul agrees: “Alexander von Wieding has done both of the covers and has captured the feeling for these titles exceptionally well.”
“Four More years of Terror” was a political statement just as much as it was a musical one: “The album speaks about when Bush was re-elected and the tyranny and chaos that ensued when he began again with his quest for oil and more power. This man certainly brought America down and the dollar has plummeted ever since. The war machine still continues today and the dollar is worth shit these days. If people would learn to get along things would be better for sure. The big problem in the world today is that America wants to dictate the way all nations should live and force democracy on people that aren't interested in the American ideology.”
Having been around for such a long time, Paul has been called “The Lemmy of Death Metal” more than once. That for sure is a moniker he can live with, isn’t it? “Sure, how can you not live with a moniker like this? Lemmy is a god, so if the truth speaks let the smiles begin. I am an underground survivor playing my heart out year after year and living in the true Metal style so there is nothing wrong with this.”
Having found a stable line up with Alex Nejezchleba (guitars) and Zdeněk Pradlovsk (drums), Master have been very productive both with regard to recording albums and touring. Where does Paul want to take the band from this point? “Upward is the answer here. Regardless, Master plays 100-120 shows per year across the globe and will continue to conquer the underground as long as I live and breathe”