Martyr – Circle Of 8.

Well this is a true phoenix rising from the flames story!Dutch metal band Martyr,formed in 1982 in Utrecht,Holland but disbanded in 1987 are now a full time band again.Circle of 8 is released via Metal Blade Records on November 8th.Martyr were also featured on the Metal Massacre VI compilation also via Metal Blade in 1985 so you could say Martyr’s relationship with them has come around “full circle!”
Martyr released 2 benchmark albums in the 80’s.For The Universe in 1985 and Darkness At Time’s Edge in 1986 and Circle Of 8 can stand proudly beside them.After a few listens,i would say it is technical speed metal but there is a lot more to the album than that as some of the slower tracks are heavy metal classics topped off by the unique vocals of Rop Van Haren whose style reminds me of Geoff Tate from Queensryche,especially when he hits the higher register notes.
Circle of 8 kicks off with the curiously titled D.I with spoken intro,a howl of guitar feedback and then heads off into a Ministry style stomper.Afterlife follows,beginning with a flurry of guitar solos and crunchy riffing.Art Of Deception ups the ante,propelled by hyper speed guitar work and drumming.The title track follows,a slower affair highlighted by some killer drum patterns from Wilfried Broekman.Track of the album for me is next up, All Warriors Blood begins with acoustic guitar which is followed by huge riffs,discordant guitar work with a Sabbathesque middle section.Next is The Uninvited,another uptempo drum driven track with a searing wah wah guitar solo.Insensible Scream certainly lives up to its title with Rop hitting the high notes with aplomb following a guitar/bass workout at the beginning.Next up a mid paced chugger titled Scene Of Hell followed by the pounding metal of Fake.Justified Killing begins with a spoken intro that sounds like Charles Manson but i cannot clarify this.Once again more soaring vocals cut through the crashing riffs.Last new track Locked slows the pace down but is still full of heavy riffs and another wah wah guitar solo.Circle Of 8 closes with a re-recording of Speed Of Samurai from the 1985 release For The Universe.Very Maidenesque guitar duelling with more banshee screams to end the album,60 mins of molten metal.
Old Martyr fans will be delighted with the new material and hopefully newer fans will check out these previous releases:-

Dutch Steel-Roadrunner Records compilation 1984.
For The Universe-Megaton Records 1985.
Metal Massacre VI-Metal Blade Records compilation 1985.
Darkness At Time’s Edge-Metalloid Records 1986.
For The Universe re-issue-High Voltage 2004.
Darkness At Time’s Edge re-issue-High Voltage 2004.
Fear The Universe 2xcd-Rusty Cage Records 2009.
Circle Of 8-Metal Blade Records 2011.

The current line up of Martyr is as follows:-
Rop Van Haren-Vovals.
Rick Bouwman-Guitars.
Marcel Heesakkers-Guitars.
Toine Van Der Linen-Bass.
Wilfried Broekman-Drums.

Track listing for Circle Of 8 :-
Art Of Deception.
Circle Of 8.
All Warriors Blood.
The Uninvited.
Insensible Scream.
Scene Of Hell.
Justified Killing.
Speed Of Samurai.

I award Circle Of 8 a rating of 9/10.

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!