SKULL618

MACTEP (aka MASTER), Talk of the Devil (1992, Moroz)

The skull:
You know how chicks are seen in television shows and countless commercials holding a coffee cup with two hands as if they’re little kids whose dainty hands couldn’t possibly hold the cup by the handle like a proper adult? What is that? Is there a word or phrase for it? Has anyone ever been annoyed by this before? This skull cover reminds me exactly of that. Drink deep from the skull of good and evil, gals. Drink from the eye sockets and nose hole. Drink deep. Heaven or hell…pick your poison. Lesbian devil, cover girl angel — and one hand you’d never want to hold in the movie theater. Drink deep, you babes of metal. And it’s okay if you’re holding it like that … this mug doesn’t come with a handle.

The music:
If The Laws of Scourge-era Sarcofago covered Iron Angel’s Hellish Crossfire with a mealy-mouthed but well-meaning mini-Martin Walkyier-meets-Tom Angelripper wannabe on vocals, it might sound something like Talk of the Devil. Whether or not that’s too derivative or third-tier for you depends on how much originality you demand. This band is Russian (and are still active), so the fact this sounds very “1986” even if it was recorded half a decade later, well, that’s okay…stuff seeped out of Europe much slower in those pre-Internet days. And it’s still not as bad as any given British thrash album circa 1992. There’s not much here that hasn’t been done better by others (like, uh, Sarcofago, Iron Angel, Sabbat and Sodom), but there are some decent moments to grab hold of, such as the seething “Fallen Angel,” and “Live to Die” is easy to like, with its wealth of rifferifically rifftastic riffs. The cover of “Paranoid,” however, could never impress, since 1) the original is fine enough already, 2) it’s been covered to death a la “Smoke in the Water” and 3) Type O Negative’s version is so good that it shut the door on anyone else hoping to cover it. So there.
— Friar Wagner

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