The Dutch heavy metal band Martyr was founded in 1982 and the band released three full length albums till 2011. In the early years, Martyr appeared on compilation albums from Roadrunner, toured with international acts and appeared on Sky Channels ‘Monsters Of Rock’. Through the years they had some line-up changes and sabbaticals, but the came always back with new material. So also in 2016 Martyr is back! On March 31 their fourth full length album ‘You Are Next’ is a fact! Let’s find out if they still have it.
The album starts off with the song ‘Into The Darkest Of All Realms’ (video) and immediately they show me what Martyr is all about: true heavy metal mixed with thrash metal brutality. Just perfect riffs, great solo’s and bridges, traditional heavy metal vocals and drums that’s moshing along with the guitars. But is that all there is? No, of course not. Another strong thing to mention is the diversification of the songs on the album. ‘Unborn Evil’ is for example a slow doom-ish song with brutal vocals and ‘Souls Breathe’ is a fast thrash metal song. A nice balance between different styles and elements, whereby the songs are not to long, but just good!
I think the most important thing on this album is the guitar work. Besides the fact that the riffs are very strong, I’m constantly suprised by the original guitar parts, fills, licks and bridges during the album. Especially the hauling and melodic guitar solos are just there at the right moment in every song. Also the cooperation between the drums and the guitars is something I would like to mention. The drums is fitting perfectly into the guitar riffs and plays a important roll in the heavy and pumping thrash sound they bring to you.
But now I hear you think “is there not one negative point to share”? Well, maybe there is a little one. A small one! I like the typical heavy metal vocals on the album, but at some moments it’s a little to forced and labored. This is actually no big deal for me, because on the other hand they masquerade that problem perfectly with the use of beautiful twin vocals and an aggressive sound, which I like very much! My conclusion is that this is just a damn good record! A very nice mix of traditional heavy metal and modern thrash metal, brought to you by a bunch of old school guys!
Score: 8.8/10 ★★★★☆
During the five years that Martyr was alive and kicking (1982-1987) the band released two albums that are considered cult in the metal scene today. ‘For The Universe’ (1985) and ‘Darkness At Time’s Edge’ (1986) are classic metal, a delight for those who love strong melodies, speedy riffs and a high level of technicality. In those years Martyr appeared on compilation albums from Roadrunner and Metal Blade, was voted Holland’s best new metal band in Aardschok magazine, has toured with several international acts and appeared on Sky Channel’s Monsters Of Rock.
Martyr disbanded in 1987 but reunited in 2001 to play the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. Four years later the band revived almost the complete 1982 line up to play the Headbangers Open Air and Keep It True festivals. The flame started burning again and the band have continued to play live ever since. December 2008 MARTYR supported US Shock Rockers Lizzy Borden on their European tour. In 2009 and 2010 MARTYR hit the European stages supporting great acts like Flotsam & Jetsam , Vicious Rumors, Jaguar, Evergrey. In 2009 the first new Martyr record in almost 25 years was released. That’s when the new EP ‘Fear’ was coupled with a re-release of the classic ‘For The Universe’ album as a double digipack entitled ‘Fear The Universe’ on Rusty Cage Records (RCR0017).
In 2010 and 2011 Martyr re-entered the studio between the live shows, working on the successor for ‘Fear’. A complete new album entitled “Circle Of 8” was released by Metal Blade Records in November 2011 worldwide and has proven to be a significant impulse in Martyr’s revival after it’s release. With 30 years of MARTYR (with a big celebration in their home town Utrecht – Tivoli) and 30 years of Dutch Steel signed with Metal Blade again : “The Clan Is Back Home and stronger than ever…..” And the band proves it again in 2015 and 2016 with new national and international tours and with the new and heavy album ‘You Are Next” released by Into The Limelight Records in cooperation with Pure Steel Prmotions and Soulfood distribution the band proves to be unstoppable.