ALBUM REVIEW: The Mastery – Accuser

Back for their fourteenth release since their inception, ACCUSER bring forth The Mastery, a mighty and intense album, and a more than worthy follow up to The Forlorn Divide. They have been a mainstay of the international metal scenes from 1986-1996, with their unique sound middling between fellow countrymen such as KREATOR, and the Bay Area thrash metal movement.

Title track The Mastery is a fast paced, heavy riffing piece, cementing their place within the more groove focused side of thrash metal. Despite being the final song on the album, it does not leave you lamenting the end, so much as spurring you on to listen repeatedly. You can play any song from the album and get the same tone and energy throughout, making this a terrifically paced album. The first track, Mission: Missile, however builds slowly and with smooth increments of ambience for the first 30 seconds or so, and then it hits you. Battering drums and meaty basslines pummel the senses, before evening out into a more rhythmic and slower chorus, whilst not distracting from the aggression at the forefront.

The Real World is a more groove-based track, still heavy and hard-hitting, but generally a slower pace than the previous track, but no less powerful. It can’t be said for the next track however. Solace In Sorrow boasts some of the more interesting solo segments for the guitar, albeit short lived. The rest of the track lacks that extra something, with rather standard riffs and drums, it doesn’t stand out perhaps as much as it could have done.

Time For Silence is one of the more melodic tracks on the album, retaining that classic ACCUSER sound, with chunky basslines and anthemic riffs playing off each other to create this beefy and stunning track. This makes this song one of the stronger tracks on The Mastery, one to get the blood flowing every time. Next up we have My Skin, possibly the heaviest track on the entire album, boasting the faster, more oppressive sound so far. Starting with crunching and loud beats, progressing into a rhythm heavy vocal section, returning to the brutality of the intro, followed by a mightily impressive solo section. Coming in with another cracking track, Catacombs keeps up the pace with extreme speed and thunderous and rhythmic drumming, accompanying the heavy and slamming guitar throughout the entirety.

Mourning is an outlier to the album. While heavy in most aspects, it takes a couple of turns down a more ambient and drum-based segment. That doesn’t last for long however, as soon enough groovy guitar riffs return, followed by a melodic and face-melting solo, before regressing into the slower paced riffs and drums. Ruthless begins with a standard arrangement or alternating drum fills and riffs, before taking a minor break, and is back at it again with pounding drums, really hammering home the tone of the album. It’s a shame that for the majority of the track it is very similar and repetitive, besides the solo. The other side of that is ties with the track title, as it is ruthless, relentless, and oppressing. Fully charged with chaotic energy and fury, Into The Black brings forth a melodic and heavy aspect to the album, not seen as prominently in other tracks. It is a welcome change and helps steer the album away from some of the more repetitive and monotonous aspects that occasionally plague thrash metal. Taking a breather and slowing down into a rhythm based section before the superb solo was a brilliant move, really emphasising the versatility of the band. It highlights how talented their song writing ability is, as well as the pure skill of the lead guitarist.

It is clear to see what ACCUSER was trying to do with The Mastery, and it is obvious they have managed to do just that. They have proven time and time again that their sound is one to be reckoned with, as they truly have a mastery of their art. Within these tracks you can feel the rage and the anger that ACCUSER brings to the table, still hammering home that they are titans of the metal scene fourteen albums into their career. The Mastery is a fantastic album, filled with heavy riffs, intense drums and melodic and groove filled baselines. One thing for certain, is that ACCUSER show no signs of slowing down as they constantly build upon their own sound.

Rating: 8/10

The Mastery - Accuser

The Mastery is out now via Metal Blade Records

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