Myron and Ross hooked me up with a brief but satisfying slab of deathy sounds with this release, enabling me to squeeze in one more review before my impending paternity leave hiatus. (Do not cue Impending Doom jokes here.)
Martyr Defiled are from England, and play a style that most would call deathcore. Regardless of your feelings about the tropes of that genre, Martyr Defiled come across with an undeniable sense of fun in their music. It’s kind of an intangible thing, but you can tell when a band has that kind of energy in their performance and can communicate it.
Variety helps too. ‘Black Mesa’ begins with an up-tempo melodeath theme that continues with variations through a handful of changes in rhythmic feel. ‘r_Evolution’ has a really nice guitar solo over an unexpectedly melodious coda. (Reviewer bites his tongue as regards prejudice against nü-metal-style alternative orthography.)
On the other hand, if you do like deathcore without reservations, and breakdowns are mother’s milk to you then “In Shadows” is going to please you for sure. ‘Nemesis’ is a symphony of breakdowns—in fact, it’s full of tempo changes period—and it rocks. ‘Prison Walls’ follows with sinewy, down-tuned riffs and appropriately enraged, feral vocals.
One thing that separates this release from a lot of contemporary deathcore is its stripped-down production. There is very little in the way of 808 drops, keyboards, or programmed synth arpeggio sequences. Not that there is anything inherently wrong about those things in their place, but it is fun to hear something this in-your-face and visceral from this subgenre. You can easily image Martyr Defiled playing these tunes in their rehearsal space or a small club and sounding not too different from the record. That’s—here is that word again—fun.