Minotauro – Master Of The Sea
Minotauro – Master Of The Sea (2013)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
This album and I have had a brief and strange relationship over the last few days. I saw the album cover in combination with “Italian Power Metal”, and thought “SOLD!”. However, my first spin left me feeling pretty disappointed, especially in the wake of so many other half-decent releases this summer. Giving Minotauro a break for a couple of days proved to do me some good, as I’ve done a little bit of a turn-around again in the space of a week.
Minotauro plays a very mid-tempo, sometimes even plodding, style of power metal, and one that I, admittedly, have generally been unable to access without some serious vocal or guitar clout. Additionally, Master Of The Sea is not a dense album. In fact, you probably wouldn’t guess that there are six band members involved in the recording of the album. As such, the texture is quite open and uncluttered (and, if you’re like me, that can sometimes translate to “boring”). However, the band accomplishes some interesting , if not novel, sounds over the album’s duration. In sound, I would say that Minotauro best resembles some of its less-speedy Italian countrymen like Great Master or perhaps modern Highlord.
Opener “The Idol” takes its time winding up, but features a recognizable minor chord progression that stands out enough for me to want to revisit the song with some frequency. It helps lay out Minotauro’s general approach to their music: gradual changes, lean, unpolluted instrumental mixtures, multiple guitar solos, and gently effective chord repetition that relies heavily on key work, as well as a decent knack for key touches for color. Unhurried, almost relaxed in nature (compared to the genre in consideration), and favoring dramatic unison hits during choruses and riffing, the title track is a bit more hooky.
Most of the rest of the album adheres to these general traits. Deserving of special mention is closer “Devil’s Sign”, which I find to be the best track on the album, featuring the most distinctive vocal melodies, best use of layered vocals, and good use of its seven minute run time. Unfortunately, this means that between the first two songs and the last, there’s a whole lot of less exciting space to be filled. Since only two songs fly below the five minute mark on Master Of The Sea, there’s consequently a tendency for the already somewhat-plodding tunes to become a little wearisome.
Along with the notable omission of real guitar leads, Minotauro struggles in the bang-for-your-buck category where persistently entertaining metal is concerned. I compared the band to Great Master and Highlord earlier in this review, but without those bands’ guitar hooks or quite their level of songwriting expertise. Right now, Minotauro is able to muster a handful of passable, if slowish, power metal tracks. However, there needs to be a whole lot more energy or hooks to turn this into something truly worthwhile.
2.75 // 5