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Martyr - Hopeless Hopes (9/10) - Canada - 1997

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Musique Daniel Côté
Playing time: 51:09
Band homepage: Martyr

Tracklist:

  1. Hopeless Hopes
  2. Prototype
  3. Elements
  4. Non Conformis
  5. Ostrogoth
  6. Blind's Reflection
  7. Inner Peace
  8. Ars Nova
  9. Nipsky
Martyr - Hopeless Hopes
In vain, I tried to write a good way to introduce this band to you. To hell with it. Their music should be enough.

This is how most bands probably wish they had started their recording career: A well written, original release that firmly engraves the band's style and characteristics while showing room for more growth. In this case, MARTYR plays an extremely technical kind of Death/Thrash Metal. The best way I can describe their music is by comparing it to "Human"-era DEATH, with more technical riffs and a more prominent Jazz influence. All compositions contain time signature changes left and right, with the tempo changing only when need be. Daniel Mongrain's vocals are also a lot similar to the late, great Chuck Schuldiner's, as being mid ranged, brutal yet understandable. Francois Mongrain 'sings' as well, but not that often, and he does so in a lower growl-type vocal. Unfortunately, he sounds a bit weak on this release.

I am actually surprised at the mix of this album. For a first release, every single instrument can be heard clearly, even the often misused bass, although the sound of the distorted guitar is a bit dry. It's a very good thing to actually have a bass guitar that's hearable, as Francois Mongrain plays some interesting fills and riffs, sometimes complementing the guitars, and sometimes playing against them. One thing that will annoy you initially, but that you can block out, is the double-bass drum sound. It sounds hollow when it's constantly played at 16th notes, it seems to shadow all the other instruments. Everyone has a chance to portray their lead playing abilities, as the drummer sometimes plays these little 'solos' between riffs, as in "Ostrogoth"; each song has at least one guitar solo, courtesy of Daniel and Pierre-Luc Lampon, one that is not just a multitude of notes, but an improvement to the song, and there is a bass solo on "Non Conformis". These guys know how to play their instruments.

If you're a fan of ATHEIST, CYNIC, DEATH, PESTILENCE, etc, give this CD a spin. Though not as technical as the first two bands mentioned above, it shows how much this band can grow. And they do… (Online December 8, 2002)

Armen Janjanian



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