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Martyr - Warp Zone (10/10) - Canada - 2000

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Warfare
Playing time: 38:44
Band homepage: Martyr

Tracklist:

  1. Warp Zone
  2. Virtual Emotions
  3. Endless Vortex Towards Erasing Destiny
  4. Deserted Waters
  5. Carpe Diem
  6. The Fortune Teller
  7. Speechless
  8. Retry? Abort? Ignore
  9. Realms Of Reverie
Martyr - Warp Zone
Oh my unholy God, where did this CD come from? While their last CD played it relatively safe, being technical riff-wise only, by maintaining a certain song structure and applying tempo changes only when it feels right, this album plays by its own rules.

I have no idea to begin to describe this album for you readers. While the first one reminded me a lot of DEATH, as it followed a somewhat jagged 'verse-chorus-break-verse-chorus-outro' form, the new one is generally free of all rudiments of song writing 'rules'.

One thing that shocked me was the use of Drop-D tuning on this album. Most people associate this type of tuning with the talent-less horde of Nu-Metal bands (PAPA ROACH, LINKIN PARK) who use it just to make one finger power chords. These monsters use it on the first, third and last three songs on the album, and use it to its full capacity.

Let's talk about the sound quality. The guitars are thick, clear and can be heard perfectly. Bass sound is clear, can be heard even better than the previous album, and it does more interesting things this time. The drum sounds heavy, and the double-bassing sounds much better and feels more brutal now. It's improved greatly. Now, on to the music.

Where to begin?

The whole thing is a Technical Death Metal fan's dream come true. While the previous album was more of a riff-heavy endeavour, as most people's music is, this new one uses the band's technical prowess to turn their emotions into songs, and their skill is used to its maximum capacity. It has to be. Every single song contains out-worldly riffs that have taken the technical capacity of a band like CYNIC and WATCHTOWER and build up upon it. No longer do the riffs flow without any odd stops. The rests within the music go against most people's natural abilities, pausing when a person wouldn't think that there would normally be a pause. There are certain segments on this CD that just seem manic and psychotic, seemed to have been created by a group of doped-up musical mad scientists hell-bent on twisting the poor listeners mind until it turns into a pile of mush. There are time and tempo changes within each BAR of certain riffs, with the band just playing along to its seemingly reckless music, with you attempting to catch up. The bass was more than just a 'rhythm' instrument on the last album, playing along with the guitar riffs. But now, it goes on to play some whacked out crazy riffs that make almost no sense if you listen to what the guitar is playing, and it's more technical now. The whole thing sounds like random chaos by now, right? Continue reading….

You know what's the scariest thing of all?

There are actual recognizable songs on this album. While it could have been simply written off as technical music for technical music's sake, the band can portray anger, fear and desperation, not only through the lyrics, but through the music. One line-up change that helped the band was getting a new drummer, as he just sounds like he's made for this type of music. The man is a human drum machine, precise as hell, and skilful enough to be able to play those sections which contain time signature and tempo changes without missing a beat. I've seen MARTYR play live 3 times, and he's never screwed up once.

Every song contains a certain identity all to itself. The opening track starts off with the same riff that ended the last album, right after "Nipsky", and they then play the riff distorted, and a lot faster. "Virtual Emotions" starts off with a weird manipulation of triplets and 16th notes, then goes into a polyrythmic sections with both guitars and bass all playing against and around each other. The next two songs are probably the most technical on the album. A certain "Endless Vortex…" section contains 10 time bar changes in a row, with a changing tempo on top of it, and the song has a slew of ridiculous changes as well! "Retry? Abort? Ignore?" (remember that DOS command line?) can make the listener believe that what s/he is hearing is actually a computer (or a man, if you really think about it) thinking about whether or not to pull the plug on itself and end it all. It has a digital feel to it. And the solo on that song is unreal, as all solos featured on this album.

To end these 38 minutes and 44 seconds of magic is "Realms Of Reverie". It's a recollection of most of the main riffs of this album, but most of the times played at different tempos, so you may not recognize them at first. This serves as a recapitulation of all the main themes on the album, and it ends with two the guitar players both playing solos (which are all improvised) one against the other, with the music fading away….Towards infinity.

Mere words cannot begin to describe the music contained on this album. I am a mere man, and as a mere man, the magic contain within this piece of plastic was probably lost when I described it to you. Never the less, you should check this band out. An innovative display in music, superior to most of its counterparts and……..Um, I'll shut up now.

GET THIS CD!!! (Online December 8, 2002)

Armen Janjanian



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