Master claims his throne.
Despite a difficult start, traces of the band led by Paul Speckmann (bass/vocals, Abomination, Blunt Force Trauma, Death Strike, Speckmann Project, Johansson & Speckmann…) can be found as early as 1983 in the USA. Now based in the Czech Republic and supported by Alex « 93 » Nejezchleba (guitar, Shaark) and Peter Bajci (drums, Awrizis), the band announce the release of Saints Dispelled, their fifteenth album, on Hammerheart Records.
The band kicks off with Destruction in June, a raw and effective track as we like them, blending the liveliness of Thrash with the strength of Death. The Old School riffs immediately hit as do the morbid vocal parts, but we also notice a more diversified drumming that doesn’t hesitate to couple blast and double kick with more worked patterns, then Walk in the Footsteps of Doom takes over by adding sharp leads to the catchy riffs. The rhythm section remains solid at all times, whether during solos or the heavy final, as on Saints Dispelled which offers an unhealthy but immediately addictive groove with which the band plays to place jerky riffs. A few more shrill harmonics make the track more aggressive, then the band slows down on Minds Under Pressure, letting the rhythm unveil choruses that are sure to unite live before returning to a livelier pace on Find Your Life and its piercing leads. The musicians offer us a rocky basis where the guitar allows itself darker parts or tortured flights before returning to its roots for Marred and Diseased, once again allowing the breathless riffs to adopt a few sharp solos. There’s a sudden acceleration that lasts for the rest of the track, followed by a surprisingly oriental-sounding introduction on The Wiseman, before returning to the usual greasy violence, albeit with a little surprise towards the end. The end of the album is marked by The Wizard of Evil, a quite longer composition than the others, where the musicians deliver their usual high-speed violence before gradually slowing down to let the sound recede, return and finally cease.
Two bonus tracks are also on the program, depending on the edition: the virulent Nomads, with its aggressive riffs in keeping with the band’s usual style, and the long disquieting Alienation of Insanity, which starts out slow and oppressive, before letting Death/Doom influences infuse its dissonant rhythm.
Master is a classic, the epitome of « simple and effective ». There’s no need for complexity here, as Saints Dispelled delivers catchy tracks with strong Old School roots that could almost be called vintage, but which we love above all else.
Photographer credits : Joerg Lobo
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! How would you introduce the band Master without using the usual musical labels, such as “Death Metal” or “Thrash Metal”?
Paul Speckmann (bass/vocals): Master is and always has been a hardworking Rock N Roll outfit that has been categorized as a Death Metal band since the beginning of the genre, and to be honest in the early the days there weren’t so many silly categories, we all just played hard rock, or Metal I guess, as this referred to Black Sabbath the first band of the genre! We have always tried to incorporate Punk, Blues, and many different elements into the song writing, trying not to really restrict ourselves into playing one format!
How do you personally link the name Master to the band’s musical identity? Do you remember why you picked this name at the beginning of the band?
Paul: The name of the band came from an outsider, Rick Mexican, who briefly jammed twice with the band as I was busy with the band Warcry, and the original drummer Bill Schmidt played with Rick, while I hit the stage with Twisted Sister and Queensrÿche! Rick basically took the name from a Black Sabbath song called Lord of this World, and the name stuck, regardless of the fact that he didn’t!
The band’s new album, Saints Dispelled, just came out. How do you feel about it? How is the feedback?
Paul: I feel the same way I do every recording! It’s a killer, and as always I put my heart and soul into the project! Sometimes people like the records, and sometimes not. Sometimes they have better productions, and or, more money behind them, but all in all you have to put your best effort into every release! Sometimes health and or personal problems in general life also affect the outcome! The responses for this new release have been quite good with the exception of a small amount of feeble-minded Germans! But the bigger more important German magazines such as RockHard and Legacy gave the new recordings great reviews! But in all reality as long as I think the record is a masterpiece, then this is really all that matters! The fellas and I did our best!
How would you sum Saints Dispelled’s identity up in only three words?
Paul: A solid nutcracker!
How did the creation process happen for Saints Dispelled? Did you notice some changes compared to the band’s previous material?
Paul: Nothing ever changes in the writing process, I write the songs on my acoustic guitar, record them on my phone or micro-cassette record, and bring them to the studio! We practice them and then record on the phone again. We go home and discuss the length of the songs, because many times they are too long as in the last song on the CD! But it works in my opinion on Alienation of Insanity! Several others were shortened as the album would have once again been way too long!
What about the artwork, what were the guidelines and how do they fit with the music you created?
Paul: When working with the Master Richard Schouten, there are no guidelines! After seeing OMNIA MORS AEQUAT from Richard, I was sold again! This exquisite art display of his mummy work sold me once again! I said please create art in a similar style as this great previous production! He began a sketch and I laughed when I saw it, because I really had no idea where he was going. But when you work with such Masters, you needn’t worry! Richard created several pieces of art over the years for many of my and others record covers. He is an astute professional!
The band faced many lineup changes since the beginning, and even relocated to Czechia back in time. How do you still keep the boat afloat after forty years?
Paul: I smile when I read this question every time my friend. The lineup of Pradlovsky, Nejezchleba, and Speckmann were together for 16 years here in Czech! There was change in 2018 when these two members quit Master and I was forced to make a change! In 2018 I brought in musician extraordinaire Ruston Grosse on drums and another killer player, Pat Shea on guitar. This lineup managed to tour the USA, Mexico, Central America and even Europe in 2020! The Covid advance hit the world, and after the Bilbao Deathfest in Spain, the fellas returned home, never to return to Europe! I ran an ad as always for merch, and underneath I mentioned I wanted to reform the band again and get cracking now that bands could play live again, as the Covid suddenly disappeared! An old drummer, Peter Bajci who played with us for about a year in 2010 contacted me and showed interest in rejoining the band, Master! He spoke with Alex Nejezchleba as well, and we began rehearsing again! I keep the boat afloat, by continuing to write and record songs and find people to play them live as I always have! Nowadays I have a solid live lineup!
As I said in my review, « Master is a classic, the epitome of « simple and effective”. How do you find your inspiration to write riffs and lyrics?
Paul: The world around me dictates the lyrics! As for riffs, the acoustic guitar is my Saviour! I pick it up from time to time, and riffs appear! I am sure this works the same with many artists! We live in such a chaotic world these days, that finding this to sing about appears frequently whether it be on the news, or even the streets in any major city!
Do you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Paul: I never choose favorites, but I will say that the bass was difficult to master on The Wiseman! I wrote the main riff and had to practice it a bit to relax on playing it!
Do you think you improved yourself as a musician and songwriter with this new record?
Paul: I think self improvement is important and can be achieved on every record, so yes!
Master was finally able to come back to France last September, at Mennecy Metal Fest, which I attended. How was this show for you and for the band?
Paul: The show was a blast, but the organization was a bit difficult as the Airlines cancelled a flight for no reason in our opinion and nearly cost us the performance! We arrived in Prag after a previous festival in Czech the Friday evening, and raced to the airport in the morning. We arrived in plenty of time! As we waited in line to check in, I looked at my phone and it said the plane was full and we could fly the next morning, and miss the show! Luckily the kind lady from the airlines took pity on us and we flew to Frankfurt for a layover and then to Paris. We could be seen running to the airplane after customs, as they held it for us! We arrived in time to relax for about an hour, eat the lukewarm food as fast as possible, sell merch for about 45 minutes, pack up, and play to a killer audience, which in the end made it all worthwhile! The airlines were to blame!
Paul Speckmann on stage with Master at Mennecy Metal Fest 2023
What do you know about the French Metal scene? Are there any bands you enjoy?
Paul: We played with several great French bands back in the day, for example on the Vital Remains tours! I am not a big fan of Death Metal my friend, but certainly there are many great French bands in the genre!
What about your local scene, how is it? What are according to you the emerging bands we should hear about?
Paul: Hmm, again when you get to be 60 years old, you only go out and support your own shows my friend! The local scene is always thriving in the Czech Republic of course! But I regularly play with some killer bands called Pandemia, Fleshless, etc!
Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Paul: I don’t have the time anymore for other bands!
If you had to organize a concert for Saints Dispelled’s release show, which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with Master and three other bands!
Paul: Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest with KK Downing and Master of course!
Last and funny question : which dish would you compare Master’s music with?
Paul: Speckmann‘s Chili!
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Paul: I am old, so, as you are young, go out and support the local bands of course, so we can continue to have a future in Metal, without the fans and support the scene will die! Any interest in the band, go to speckmetal.net