Lair of the Minotaur - The Ultimate Destroyer
Southern Lord
Heavy Doom Rock/Thrash
9 songs (38'32")
Release year: 2006
Lair of the Minotaur, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Alex

Some records need proper circumstances to click. Chicago-born Lair of the Minotaur have been keeping me company in the car for a couple of weeks. From the start I acknowledged the sound having gone from heavy on the previous album Carnage to devastating on The Ultimate Destroyer, but the full impact of the latter was still missing me. But then, here I was driving home, already late, pissed off and angry at one of my raw materials’ suppliers. The bastards sold us some crap, which we in our trustworthy arrogance used up producing some $28,000 worth of product. This product, of course, is now turned to waste. My small business is on the hook to swallow this bitter pill, at the same time trying not to alienate the important customer this order was meant to serve. I climbed into the car ready to kill, and luckily, it was Cannibal Massacre turn to play. Its stomp and pummeling rhythm section, reverberating up-tempo leaden riffs resonated completely with how I felt inside at that moment. It was right time and right place for that song. Nothing pretty about the latest Lair of the Minotaur, The Ultimate Destroyer is full of these heavy headbanging cuts to blow your steam at, in case of dire need and the absence of the face you’d rather smash at that moment.

It seems as though Steve Rathbone, Lair of the Minotaur mastermind, was obsessed with not being confused for playing light on his latest album. After all, The Ultimate Destroyer is dedicated to metal. Having invested in the most powerful amps the money can buy, the band proceeds to bang a bunch of riff-infested songs with a single minded macho aggression. Just about every track, Lair of the Minotaur quickly latches onto this heavy groovy riff never to let go. Most of the time the tempo is on, and if not from the very beginning (Behead the Gorgon), then it catches up, the band unable to hold back the thrash. Not about many tempo variations, this record is about finding that special rhythmic da-dad-da da-da-dad, even if the riff sounds a little familiar (title track). A few exceptions, slower gurgling on Horror, and grind-length trying to match grind-speed on Lord of Butchery, The Ultimate Destroyer thunders on through until the final cut of The Hydra Coils Upon This Wicked Mountain gets to pull your guts out with its slow churn.

The sound on The Ultimate Destroyer is so heavy my car door is physically vibrating when the album is played as loud as the volume dial can take it. Steven’s guitar strings are chunks the size of the main power wire at some big mean nuclear plant. The overused “heavy as fuck” and “heavy as an elephant ass” expressions are very applicable here, and the rhythm section of DJ Barrara (bass) and Larry Herweg (drums) display the necessary tightness. And if the crank on those amps wasn’t enough to hurt your ears, the almost over the top guitar squeals and distortion certainly will.

In tune with the manly belligerence, the variety of voices on the album point at “angry” as well. Most of the time Steve barks along with a lower tone hardcore scream, only to be augmented with a backing shriek on Horror or a multitude of irate singers joining in a chorus of Cannibal Massacre. Such vocal approach would not normally be my favorite thing, but the ‘core seems fitting on The Ultimate Destroyer. The tough macho veil is lifted rarely, only a few leads showing a glimpse of these men more sensitive side (Juggernaut of Metal).

Without false pretenses, Lair of the Minotaur is very organic and must sound overwhelming live. Those in Chicago area may get a chance to attend more than others, but still my recommendation is not to forget a rib cage strap and, at least, some mild variety earplugs. Losing a wad of cash or just running into a person you despise right before the show should magnify the experience.

Killing Songs :
Behead the Gorgon, The Ultimate Destroyer, Cannibal Massacre
Alex quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Lair of the Minotaur that we have reviewed:
Lair of the Minotaur - Dragon Eagle of Chaos reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Lair of the Minotaur - Godslayer reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Lair of the Minotaur - Carnage reviewed by Alex and quoted 63 / 100
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