(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
It has been a short three months, actually a bit shy of it, since the exciting news broke back in May about the studio return of LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR.
That news flash did some real wonders for me, being a longtime fan of theirs, a band I dare say is one of the underground’s more savage of acts. While the uninitiated may guffaw at such a statement, that action would only reveal their own clueless naïvety.
One need only venture back to the trio’s earlier full-length releases Carnage (2004), The Ultimate Destroyer (2006), War Metal Battle Master (2008), or Evil Power (2010), to get an ass kicking crash course in the caustic repertoire of this entity. However, after the very latter’s release, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR kind of faded into the shadows for a spell, going on a hiatus that saw only one single dispatched in the interim – 2013’s Godslayer.
This is why that May news update encouraged such anticipation within me and countless hordes of others. Now, what was foretold has manifested. Friday, August 24th saw LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR circa 2018 (the band’s 15th anniversary) – Steven Rathbone (guitar/vocals), Donald James Barraca (bass), and Chris Wozniak (drums) – issue the two-song ‘Dragon Eagle Of Chaos‘ EP via their own The Grind-House Records.
Full disclosure, these two songs are not actually new compositions, though they are new recordings. One track, the title cut “Dragon Eagle Of Chaos“, was recorded in the past, but never achieved the proper state of volatility the band sought… so it was newly re-recorded this year, in the current state you hear.
And what do you hear? I hear a crushing juggernaut of sludgeoned doom, at first powered forth by massive riffs of an Iommian nature before full-on incineration commences. Soon it is blazing with swinging, axe hewn grooves that hack away with a ferocious berserker-ness, while the war hammer drums pulverize all in their wake.
Follow up aural assault, “Kunsult The Bones“, was actually recorded back in 2010, yet never released, and it features Nate Olp on bass and backing vocals. If the previous cut was of a battle hymn nature, then this one-eighty’s into a slurring ode of groove metal, musically and vocally tainted by touches of Venom and Pungent Stench.
The release of this EP came one week before LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR is scheduled to play their one, and only, live assault in 2018.
That will occur this Friday, August 31st, when they appear at the sold-out Scorched Tundra X festival in Chicago alongside Monolord, Sumac, Yakuza, In The Company Of Serpents, Telekinetic Yeti, Couch Slut, and more [INFO].
This sold-out performance will see LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR selling an extremely limited edition 7″ vinyl version of Dragon Eagle Of Chaos, pressed in a run of only 33 hand-numbered copies.