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Lay Down Rotten - 'Mask Of Malice' (metalblade) 3.75/5

This is release number eight from German death thrashers Lay Down Rotten and the first to feature guitarist Daniel Seifert who has recently joined as a replacement for founder member Daniel Jakobi, who laid down his axe at the tail end of last year due to personal commitments.

Now on first listen I gotta say this one is pretty enjoyable if not groundbreaking. There are ten cuts on offer, all nice and well delivered slices of fairly typical Teutonic death bludgeon; you get the growled vocals, the death and the devil lyrics, riffs that switch frequently between 100mph speed blur and slow and menacing smash and grind, some nice little interludes where monks chant, latin is spoken and people give confession... If you know your death trash you will already know exactly what to expect.

So no marks for originality, but I will give these guys their due and say this is still an enjoyable and very listenable album, and I will give special praise to the aforementioned Herr Seifert and his oppo Nils Forster for some fairly impressive guitar work, both on the riffing and the lead, the slow and plaintiff lead on The Devil Grins is especially noteworthy

Other highlights include the dark and devilish The Serpenta Canta, the pound and grind of Swallow The Bitterness and the opening thrash out of Death Chain.

All in all, although this album is a bit formulaic it is not without merit.

Worth checking out.

For Fans of... Exumer, Charred Walls Of The Damned, Slayer, Testament....

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