"Take the rulebook of metalcore, I know you have it sitting somewhere. You know, that old, worn out book that has seen better days. Throw it out in the trash. Better yet, cover it in gasoline and light that mother up and throw it out in a dark alley. Watch it burn and watch the eyes of the homeless standing around flutter in fear. When the flames subside, collect the ashes and scatter them around your lawn. Metalcore as we know it has died.
Fear not, because the beast is rising like a hellspawn phoenix and its name is Martyr AD. From riffing that would give a Vietnam vet flashbacks to drumming so intense that once feels that Thor himself is sending thunder down, this is one disc that does NOT disappoint.
Step back to the days of NYHC, mix in a good bit of Swedish metal, and simmer to satisfaction baby!
The cd starts off with an intro.. and, as most intros, it becomes the "pointless track that is thankfully short because I am too lazy to get off my butt and change the stereo" track. Thankfully, the album really rips into you with savage ferocity starting with the first actual track, "Bring Out Your Dead". This track is by far my favorite, with a sound all its own. Picture God Forbid and At the Gates having a baby. Now picture the baby being foster parented by equal parts Johan Liiva era Arch Enemy and Earth Crisis. Vocalist Andy Hart brings strong lyrics about hatred for those who judge others and the fate which they deserve. The track features an excellent shout along breakdown, with Swedish-inspired riffing chugging this steam-driven locomotive of angst down the road to perfection.
Track 3, "The Serpent and the Flower" is unrelenting with its fierce viscosity. There is no time to catch your breath at the first of this song, and the tempo is porn star fast. Another great example of how breakdowns in hardcore should be.
Next, we come to the track "American Hollow", which starts with a siren sound and begins to rip into you like a thousand bullets. Closest thing to a firefight I ever want to be in. The machine-gun nature of riffing helps to build this mental image. The chorus of "I am the reason you're always bleeding" even further builds the grim vision of mind. Come to think of it, the power of this track is less like a massacre and more like being mauled by Montecore the tiger. It's a beautiful kind of carnage.
"Late Night Faith" healer is a bit weaker of a track, but this is Martyr AD weak, so it is still miles ahead of most hardcore out there.
"Misery Dance" is right up there with "Bring Out Your Dead" for lyrical strength, yet as most hardcore bands do, they use the pure energy of the music as a catharsis for an emotional void. The strongest breakdown of the album comes in the chorus of "If I could just Play dead forever Maybe I could make sense of this". Hits close to home with this track.
"Valley of Solitude" reminds me of "Burn my Eyes" era Machine Head, with a shouted intro leading into perfect headbanging speed drums. The bitterness is apparent vocally, and the bass work is stronger than a BalCo client baseball player whose name I wont say.
"The Last Words of Any Meaning" is a 2 part attack on those people whom we uneducated people call "fake motherfuckers". Fear Factory style drumming, Pantera style intensity, and Immortal style vocals, however 100 times faster than the great Abbath Doom Occulta could spit his wonderful bile. I am obviously impressed with the vocals on this song, because Immortal is one of THE GODS of my musical world.
Around "Beneath the Plague", I began to feel worn out from the jackhammer brutality of the album, and my hands were numb from the vibrations. Amazingly, I was not complaining a bit. The albums intensity could be used as a new energy source. Fuck OPEC, we could attach kinetic neurosensors to every metalhead in the country and watch them power America with the thrashing moshing and headbanging that this album produces.
Next to last we have "Into Stone", an unrelenting ender with Michael Arnott (Candlemass era) riffing and intense constantly rock crushing vocals deep from the heart.
The disc ends with a reprise of bring out your dead called "The Dead" The tempo is only a bit slower on this track, not your typical slow as USPS ender.
At a total running time of 30ish minutes, this album is the epitome of what hardcore/metalcore should be. Brutal, Powerful, and Concise. Any longer and I would have been literally drained. The guitar work is far more innovative than most so called hardcore I have heard recently; and the guitarists embody a universal technique, touching on equal parts NYHC, Flordia Death, and Gothenberg Melodic Death Metal. True connoisseurs of bru-fucking-tality
5 out of 5, a must have for metalheads of all types. Keep this album out of the car cd player though, might bust a steering column trying to drum on the wheel to keep up with things, speeding without knowing it, or worse!"
5-out-of-5! You're goddamned right.