Germany's Death Metal Maestros, Lay Down Rotten. have been tantalising our ears with their music now for the best part of thirteen years. Their latest offering, their sixth full length album 'The Mask Of Malice' is no exception, an absolutely excellent, album, from start to finish. I really enjoyed their previous album 'Gospel Of The Wretched' but I enjoyed this even more.
This album still has Jost Kleinert on vocals, Nils Förster on guitars, Uwe Kilian on Bass, Timo Class on drums but Daniel Seifert has now replaced Daniel Jacobi on guitars. Throughout you are bombarded with absolute killer guitar riffs, mind-blowing melodies, delightfully punchy, gear switching drums and top this off with Jost's magnificent, deep, powerful growls and the finished result is a brutal album that keeps you listening from beginning to end.
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As always, with an album of this standard it is difficult to choose a favourite out of the ten tracks. The opening track, 'Death-Chain', sets the sinister scene with its spoken intro, a confession given to a priest, before breaking into a musical intro of atmosphere building guitar riffs and then the song explodes into ear shredding excellence.
The track 'Hades Resurrected' also has a spoken intro in I believe, Greek, which builds atmosphere and sets the scene before the song begins. This is something which, if done right, which I think it has been here, really enhances a track but I know some would disagree, it's a question of personal preference, ultimately.
On 'Swallow The Bitterness' the growly vocals at times are soaring and perfectly complemented by the chugging, catchy guitar riffs, more excellent drum work and then that guitar solo!
'...And Out Come the Wolves' starts with a slow clean single guitar then as the second is introduced the pace builds, with the addition of frantic drum work, giving an unnerving atmosphere before the vocals even start. Excellent stuff!!
'La Serpenta Canta', has a catchy riff running throughout the song and beautiful soaring guitars towards the end, complemented by yet more excellent vocals!!
The final track, 'The Loss', continues the pace and brutality of the album right to the end. There's no getting off lightly with these guys.
The album was recorded and mastered at Desert-Inn Studio by Thilo Krieger, the cover artwork by Toshihiro Egawa, and the layout and design by Pascal Weiß/Artefaktum-Werbetechnik.
I absolutely love this album and I would recommend it!! Available now, for your listening pleasure, from Metal Blade Records.