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Holy Martyr – Darkness Shall Prevail

Holy Martyr
Darkness Shall Prevail
by Anamaria Carla Ionita at 07 June 2017, 6:08 AM

After 5 year of silence, HOLY MARTYR is once again on the warpath! The heavy metal band from Italy returns with a powerful new album. Once again, the band has decided not to rest on their laurels, producing an ambitious concept album, based on the mythology of the world created by Tolkien. For whoever knows me, or reads my reviews, you should know by now that I am a big Tolkien fan, so you can imagine how excited I was about this release.

Leaving behind the epic themes of the Greek/Roman history and feudal Japan, the band faces solemn and mysterious setting and themes, taken from the appendices of the books by the famous author. The result? A new use of sounds usually linked to American Epic Metal genre from the early ‘80s. “Darkness Shall Prevail” is a special album in the discography of the group because of its grandiloquent and dark gait, solemn and gloomy, a duality that often reaches the boundaries of a morbid doom metal, but still in the same style of the previous albums.

The album starts with a seagull hovering the “Shores of Elenna”, a short intro about the men of Numenor, the Isle of Elenna, mighty and full of splendor among the mortal men. “Numenor” has a classic ‘80s guitar riff and a voice that sounds nothing like the intro part. “Shores of Elenna” set the stage perfectly for an epic Tolkien riddle, made me look forward to actually start the journey, but the slow pace guitars and the voice did nothing but disappoint me. “Heroic Deeds” starts with a soft acoustic sound, putting me back on track, back in the world of the Numenor Men and elves, but again I talked to fast, might have jinxed it. The voice is fucking horrible, does not match anything, the instrumental parts are quite decent, the lyrics well written but I cant overlook the voice, which is the most important part when writing such an ambitious concept. Moving to “Taur Nu Fuin” and “Minas Morgul” the guitar is lacking urgency, it seems it has the same slow rhythm over and over again, there’s no energy coming out whatsoever.

“Darkness Shall Prevail” is a complete fail in my humble opinion. I cannot describe the disappointment I just had; I wish HOLY MARTYR would just take the lyrics and give the album their own interpretation, THAT would be something to actually look forward to.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 4
Memorability: 2
Production: 2

2 Star Rating

1. Shores Of Elenna
2. Numenor
3. Heroic Deeds
4. Darkness Descends
5. Taur Nu Fuin
6. Minas Morgul
7. Witch-King of Angmar
8. The Dwarrowdelf
9. Born of Hope
Alex Mereu – Vocals
Ivano Spiga – Lead and rhythm guitar
Paolo Roberto Simoni – Lead and rhythm guitar
Nicola Pirroni – Bass
Stefano Lepidi – Drums
Record Label: Dragonheart Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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