An enthusiastic black-clad crowd at el Chivo Bar in Desamparados welcomed back legendary death metal band Master to Costa Rica after an absence of 21 years.

Photo credit: Raquel Piedra

Founder and frontman Paul Speckmann was joined by drummer Ruston Grosse and electric guitarist Pat Shea for a nonstop, sweatsoaked 80-minutes set, with songs ranging across their fourteen studio albums, including Collection of Souls (1993) and Slaves to Society (2007).

Death metal is a subgenre of heavy metal, which relies on prominent drumming, heavy bass, and electric guitar, and growling or shouting vocals. It stems from bands such as Possessed, Slayer and Venom in the early 80s, as well as Speckmann’s own creation of the bands War Cry, Death Strike, and Master during this same period. Performances require a sophisticated level of musicianship often not appreciated by outsiders and demands physical stamina by both band and audience. Last night’s show included a version of a mosh pit called a circle pit, in the middle of the club behind the front rows.

Photo credit: Raquel Piedra

San Jose was the first stop on a tour that will take the band through Central America and Mexico. The next stop is El Salvador.

Speckmann manages the band himself from his home in the Czech Republic. Promoter Raquel Piedra of Empire Productions C.R. brought them to Costa Rica.

Photo credit: Raquel Piedra

They travel with their own guitars, of course, but not drums, which can be a problem for death metal, as aggressive drum playing features in all the songs. So Ms. Piedra leased a Pearl set, which Ruston Grosse said was better than his own set in Florida.

Article by Mark Schreiber for Q Magazine!