Dutch heavy metal band Martyr, not to be confused with the Canadian death metal band of the same name, was founded in 1982 but have only released three full length albums up until 2011. Line up changes and sabbaticals have stopped the band releasing more material but they are back with You Are Next. Martyr is Rick Bouwman (Guitars), Wilfried Broekman (Drums), Rop van Haren (Vocals), Marcel Heesakkers (Guitars) and Jeffrey Bryan Rijnsburger (Bass)
“Into The Darkest Of All Realms” kicks the album off and for someone who hadn’t listened to Martyr previously, it immediately shows me what they are all about: old school heavy metal with a thrash intensity. There is a real NWOBHM feel going on here, with a mix of thrash-y riffs, galloping bass lines and lots of melody.
Showcasing more of that NWOBHM influence, “Infinity” continues in much of the same vein, with the twin guitar and what I felt was a bit of an Iron Maiden influence in the vocals. “Inch by Inch” is more of a mid-tempo song but doesn’t lose any of the heaviness. It pounds away like a sledgehammer to the skull with its relentlessness.
Picking the pace back up is “Souls Breathe” and it is all rage and fury. A song to play loud, for sure. The vocals are more in the vein of traditional metal/power metal, but they are countered with harsh, black metal backing vocals from guest vocalist Marloes Izegrum Voskuil, which gives the song a different flavour to all that has come before it. “Unborn Evil” brings the pace back down and has a sinister, almost threatening sound about it. Very creepy, indeed. There are elements of doom at play here and the vocal delivery is more snarly and menacing than we’ve previously heard. Again, it’s a nice change of pace and helps mix up the album. It’s a slow crushing track with elements of Judas Priest.
“Monster” contains some stellar guitar work with some real heavy rifffing after its initial, almost folk-like intro. From there it turns into a thunderous, guitar driven song with more galloping rhythms. “Crawl” starts off with a short spoken word piece and then comes alive in a fury of thundering rhythms and brutal guitars. It’s raw and extremely heavy. “Crawl” is one that pummels the senses.
“Mothers Tear” sounded to me at times, like something Metallica would put out. Aside from the NWOBHM influences, I got a huge US Metal influence throughout this song also. Buzzsaw guitars and jack hammer rhythms put Martyr back into foot stomping mode. “In The End” comes crashing in, picking up the pace and intensity as it rattles and hums and is possibly the most chaotic song on the record and one I certainly enjoyed. The faster beat and twin vocals – clean and harsh – worked really well.
“Don’t Need Your Money” closes out the album and for those of you who may not know, this is a cover song from the NWOBHM band, Raven, from their 1981 debut album Rock Until You Drop. Martyr have done a good job with this cover, whilst not straying too far from the original and it brings the album to a close in a catchy fashion.
Overall, I enjoyed the album very much. Yes, you can hear the influences but what Martyr have done is to craft an album that is heavy and thrash-y in parts and will make you stomp your feet and bang your heads. If you like music that contains elements of speed, thrash, power metal and NWOBM then you should find something on You Are Next to enjoy. The musicianship on display is flawless and the riffs and solos were fantastic throughout. The rhythm section were on fire and it made my experience an easy and enjoyable one. It is a good mix of traditional heavy metal and modern thrash metal brought to you by old school guys.