If you notice, the title says "1990," yet the songs on this record were all recorded earlier on demos in 1985. That's two years after the spawn of thrash and the same year that Possessed's "Seven Churches" was released, an album that is widely cited as the first death metal album. While Master's debut album is very thrash-oriented, it is indeed a death metal album, similar to Malevolent Creation or Death on "Scream Bloody Gore." A very thrashy death metal band, but more on the death metal side.
The sound here is pretty simple. Just cutthroat and aggressive death metal with some thrash tendencies. It's basically what Sepultura would sound like if they were actually a death metal band like many people claim (Those people need their head checked, I might add). The riffs range from heavy riffs full of some of the best powerchord combinations out there to fast thrashy riffs. All of these riffs are placed perfectly throughout the record, never leaving the listener with a boring moment. Just take a listen to the title track or "Pay to Die" and it will all become clear. The drumming on this record is also top-notch work. Nothing overly fancy but the speed and timing is perfect, plus there are some places where the drums add some heaviness or speed at just the right time ("Mangled Dehumanization" and "Funeral Bitch"). Paul Speckmann's vocals are also a great touch to the music. They're the perfect cross between the more aggressive thrash vocalists (think the Teutonic bands) and your typical death metal vocalist, which reflects the overall music quite well.
Simply put, this is one of the most underrated and overlooked death metal albums out there. If someone were to ask about the best American death metal albums, chances are you wouldn't hear them say "Master," but instead the usual "Altars of Madness," "Leprosy" or "Tomb of the Mutilated." While those are all great albums, this album is just as good, if not better. So don't be a wanker, check these guys out if you haven't already.