One of the Czech Republic's first black metal bands, Master's Hammer was formed in Prague in 1983, and spent the first half of their career operating in obscurity behind the Iron Curtain, but working on demos that slowly spread their cult into the West, as they were circulated by resourceful heavy metal fans trading tapes across the globe.
In fact, tape-trading and illegal imports were just as instrumental in providing the members of Master's Hammer with their mostly contrabanded source of inspiration, which evidently included the works of primal English BM godfathers Venom
, theatrical Danes Mercyful Fate
, and Swiss mavericks Hellhammer
, among others. By the time what was then still Czechoslovakia broke free of Communism and the Soviet Union's control, in 1989, Master's Hammer had come into their own as a band, and, just two years later, their stunning debut album, Ritual, revealed a surprisingly contemporary and intense brand of black metal, featuring rampant savagery wed to well-crafted arrangements and keyboards, akin to rising Norwegian powers like Mayhem
, and Darkthrone
. The group -- which at this time was comprised of vocalist/guitarist Franta Storm, keyboardist Vlasta Voral, guitarist Tomás "Necrocock" Kohout, bassist Tomás "Monster" Vendl, drummer Mirek Valenta, and percussionist Honza "Silenthell" Pøibyl -- also had a backlog of material, apparently, because they wasted little time before recording their sophomore full-length, The Jilemnice Occultist, which emerged through France's Osmose Productions, in 1992 (it is also rumored that said album was recorded prior to their debut). Unfortunately, Master's Hammer lost most of their membership a short time later, and after a few years of inactivity, Storm and Voral decided to record a farewell album entitled Slagry (1995), whose progressive experiments and numerous obscure cover songs had very little to do with metal, or the band's previous output, thereby signaling the end of Master's Hammer. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi