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Martyr - Fear The Universe (CD)

Martyr
Fear The Universe
by Grigoris Chronis at 06 February 2009, 2:16 PM

When I witnessed the Rusty Cage label re-releasing Dutch Metal titles from the glorious 80s the last couple of years, it was not out of the question to expect at some time a CD version of one of the most memorable Metal albums ever made in The Netherlands. Still, the shock was immense to see For The Universe marked as a bonus remastered 'goodie' next to a new EP of five songs - named Fear - recorded by a revamped MARTYR lineup, already having appeared in gigs/fests the last years.
For The Universe is the kind of 80s European Metal album that included fascinating Metal material while suffering from 'external' factors of the time. After a couple of demo releases MARTYR broke loose with the For The Universe vinyl cut anno 1985. An EP full of Heavy/Speed Metal value with astonishing melodies in the riffs/leads, majestic breaks adding an extra 'universal' aura and some really skilled musicians penning songs with variety avoiding complexity. Unfortunately, MARTYR was hailing from an exotic country at the time while the label in charge (Megaton) was nothing more than an 'obscure' brand failing for an adequate promotion. The follow-up, (Darkness At Time's Edge, 1986) suffered from the same symptoms, even if a proper LP was written and the band moved to the Metalloid label.
So, Fear comes to add or withdraw band value? Well, for old-school metalheads the EP may sound kinda peculiar. There's diversity in Fear's songlist, from in-your-face cuts (Fear) to more varied tunes (I Am The Most Evil), while the overall feeling plus the vocals create something spooky. Van Haren's singing is theatrical/dramatic enough; he speaks every word he sings. The guitars sound can be described as 'non-traditional' with sharpness and a hostile feeling you can't neglect. I can imagine MARTYR opening for LIZZY BORDEN on the US 'shock' Metal act's 2008 European tour.
You can say Fear features songs of their time and place performed by musicians that are not juveniles anymore. That's neat. I'd like to expect some more F.T.U. style/sound but that's what dreams are made of… Fear is the release you'll understand only if you have developed your own taste in Metal music - and current 'hard' music, in general - throughout the years while not - of course - neglecting the value of the 80s Metal releases. If Metal music has extended horizons to 'heavier' stuff with less hooks and more anger, same thing has happened to MARTYR and Fear.
In opposite, the For The Universe EP had speed. Melodies, a clear reference to the NWOBHM purity and some progressive thinking in songwriting; it's no wonder the band's members were involved into more Power/Prog Metal bands in the 90s (e.g. MINDSCAPE, SYRENADE and MEDALLION). Relevant to the title or not, the vocals had enough 'sky' echo and - so was - the music boasted a 'starry night' air, with some sky-clad keyboards bringing in more night breeze. That EP will leave you with a sense you'd want more songs to listen to, on sure thought.
If MARTYR had written a full-length CD there might be more to chat on. Nonetheless, the Fear The Universe release - dressed in a wonderful digipak sleeve - shall ultimately attract your attention. Glad that MARTYR is now around, we'll have to wait for something more apart from this interesting 'teaser'.

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Tracklist:
Disc 1

I Am The Most Evil
Fear
Different Kind Of Rain
Take Me Home
Eaten Alive

Disc 2

For The Universe - Theme
Speed Of Samurai
The Elbon
Four Walls
The Awakening
Black Sun
For The Universe - Requiem
Lineup:
2009 lineup
Rop Van Haren - Vocals
Marcel Heesakkers - Guitars
Rick Bouwman - Guitars
Toine Van Der Linden - Bass
Wilfried Broekman - Drums

1985 lineup
Gereard Vergouw - Vocals
Marcel Heesakkers - Guitars
Rick Bouwman - Guitars
Antoine Van Der Linden - Bass
Elias Papadopoulos - Drums
Record Label: Rusty Cage Records
     


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