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28.10.11

Martyr - 'Circle of 8' (roadrunner) 4/5

Ok I think I had better start with a quick history lesson here. Dutch metal combo Martyr (not to be confused with the Canadian post hardcore outfit of the same name) came together in 1982 and were key supporting players in the euro metal movement that grew up in parallel with the NWOBHM. They issued a couple of albums in the 80's that are now looked on as collectable cult classics then just when it looked like they were about to break through to bigger and better things split up. The rest of the story is now a familiar one, a reformation a few years back to play at a festival or two, a sudden shock that people still remembered them, a couple of tours supporting some legends from the past (in this case Lizzy Borden and Flotsam and Jetsam), an ep to support said tours and now we have the bands first full lenght opus in over 25 years.

I will be honest here and say I'm not 100% up to speed on Martyrs early output, all I've got in my collection is a couple of tracks on compilation albums, so exactly how Circle of 8 compares with their classic stuff I can't really say, however I can safely say that as far as come back albums from classic 80's bands goes this is a bit of a corker.

This album is rooted firmly in the strong metallic traditions of their past. Opening cut D.I. is pure Ride The Lightning era Metallica, All Warriors Blood comes over like a classic Megadeth number, Art Of Desception hat tips both Anthrax and Armored Saint and Scene Of Hell wouldn't sound out of place on a Metal Church album. OK its not very original, but it still highly enjoyable.

The band themselves sound very happy at doing what they are doing  This is specially noticeable in the performance of vocalist Rop van Haren who even in the growled shouty bits of his performance has a sort of chuckle about him, almost as if he is about to burst out to the laughter of pure joy at any moment. And as for the rest of the band... well these guys are having a ball, wielding riffs like broadswords, pounding rhythms like the hammer of Thor on the forge of Vulcan and generally laying down some of the best old school metal of the year.

In short this is a great album and while it may never become a massive world wide hit, it will go a long way in making sure Martyrs cult status as a great band of the old school is maintained.

For fans of... Megadeth, Waxface, Elimination, Metal Church, Armored Saint.....

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