Sonntag, 13. August 2017


(Running time: 61:12 minutes; 12 songs)
("Metal Blade Records"; CD; 2011):
Hey guys, next one's finally coming up and this time here and now comes a record-review on a record that's now already six years old and that was released back then in 2011, it's the full-length-comeback-album "CIRCLE OF EIGHT" by the 1980's Dutch Heavy/Power Metal band MARTYR that released in 2009 a comeback-single and then in 2011 this comeback-album (released via the mighty "METAL BLADE RECORDS") and it's for all what I know their so far still current release to date. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) I just picked it up more or less pretty recently for only 3,00 Euros after MARTYR in general and their "CIRCLE OF EIGHT" in particular were flying absoultely "off-my-radar-screen" so far before and it seems like "they" sell it generally for (pretty) low prices on a regular basis these days, and if you now want to know why I still do a review on it being that old already then let me say that it's for the reason that I read several pretty negative reviews on it and to be honest I truly think that the most majority of this (negative) reviews didn't do justice to it. So I decided to give you my thoughts about it despise its "date'n'age" anyhow. Okay, so with what used to come MARTYR up on this one, after being at most sort of a semi-legendary/culty European Metal band (because, of course, this is a (Heavy) Metal release) of the 1980's? This is "old schoolish" and pretty forceful Power Metal in a traditional but thankfully not or if so only slightly retro/vintage way (that's always lame and stale for me, personally) with good doses of classical Heavy Metal and some fast-paced Speed Metal reminiscences in it to back it all up. We get forceful guitar riffs and strong rhythm structures that give the songs a really powerful punch to it all and listening to the guitar work I can't help but to me this sounds pretty U.S. American, influenced by (U.S.) American Metal or (U.S.) American Power Metal, to say it more precise. Stunning and shredding the guitars power their way over the course of the album with might and also a good dose of diversity through arranged and composed verses to pretty good done refrain-parts (even this parts often sound to me often sort of  too "over-loaded-with(-unnecessayr/annoying)-pathos"; but are after all not that bad and is more sort of a matter of personal-taste and says maybe not that much about the musical-quality of this album after all), delivering good changes of rhythms, songstructures, and paces and the strong solo/lead work enriches it all nicely. Then we get clear yet strong-intoned, pretty imploring vocals that (like the songwriting or the songs in general especially shine in the verses, so my perception), and also a massive and bulky, tight and precise rhythm section that beefs it all strongly up. And this guys are surely good musicians, even here and there the songwriting lacks a bit of quality. The four opening songs of "CIRCLE OF EIGHT", namely "D.I.", "AFTERLIFE", "ART OF DESCEPTION", and "CIRCLE OF EIGHT" itself, really shine and surprise and overwhelm with strong, damn good to really great ideas and a totally alive/lively character and go straight forward with power and might. Then comes "ALL WARRIORS BLOOD" and kicks off with a slow and heavy start that then starts to pace off with thundering drums and a sort of (at least slighty by) BLACK SABBATH influenced guitar riffing with a very "gloomy'n'doomy" tone to it all, the vocals then try to sort of migrate into the CIRITH UNGOL territory but maybe sort of more theatrical and less intense and extreme (before turning into a Spoken Words-part and closing the song then in that already above mentioned imploring way), and I like this song pretty much. Then comes with "THE UNINVITED" a "speedy" thrashing headbanger with a strong hymnal refrain and a stunning mid-paced middle section with a slightly SLAYER styled solo. Next up is "INSENSIBLE SCREAM" delivering a fantastic sharp cutting "high-pitched" riffing during the verses, pushing without mercy ahead into the mighty refrains and offering beside a very strong solo-part also power and force non stopp.  Also a really good one, thumbs up. So far everything is fine, if not very fine... but you remember me mentioning above that "the songwriting here and there lacks the quality", yes, and this "here-and-there" you'll recognize surely and strongly on/with the five last songs "SCENE OF HELL", "FAKE", "JUSTIFIED KILLING", "LOCKED", and "SPEED OF SAMURAI (2011)". "SCENE OF HELL" starts really strong with a classical Hard Rock inspired opening riff and a nice driving riff leading to the verses but then with the verses and also the refrains it gets incredible annoying and boring, pretty "blocky" in a way of that the song is having a lot of potential but standing in ist own way of unfolding its strong potential and instead of unfolding it turning it all finally into a boring, crappy mess. "FAKE" seems to try to be a "head-off-cutting" Thrash Metal assault with SACRED REICH and some MACHINE HEAD and even sort of GURD inspirations in it (not saying that this is the case but so it seems to me while listening to it), and to make it short, yes, this attempt fails gloriously, this song is just utter garbage and sounds like a total-wanna-be-ripp-off with terrible arranged verses... I love the three mentioned bands, all of them, some more, some less, but MARTYR simply can't do it properly. "JUSTIFIED KILLING" then is sort of the exact same mess like "FAKE" but at least with a cool forward pushing middle part leading up to a stunning solo, but this ends by far too soon again and then the "crappyness" that was "JUSTIFIED KILLING" so far continues on. With "LOCKED" then MARTYR seem at first to want to try to sneak into the (newer) SLAYER territory, before then spoiling a promising beginning with horrible and boring verses with terrible overly theatrical vocals and just a garbage middle part, so that even the nicely delivered refrain can't save much. The final track then is "SPEED OF SAMURAI (2011)" (and judging by the title I would bet it's a new recorded MARTYR oldie, being the genius I am...;-)...) and after this four horrible tracks coming before it this track sounds pretty good... but at the end of the day it's just sort of a solid IRON MAIDEN influenced 1980's Speed Metal song that runs smooth through but then that's it. But at least after all it's more or less pretty okay, average to solid stuff, I guess, especially because the lead and solo are pretty good. Okay, that this record-review turned out being that long wasn't planned, hm, but okay, now that's how it is. Fans of good Old School yet fresh Power Metal should really give this record (finally) a fair chance and risk one or two ears if haven't done it so far already, even the last four to five tracks I really wouldn't have needed anyhow. But this is anyway a good one that you should check out if you're into good, fresh Power Metal the traditional way with some nice fresh ideas, so yes, give it a try when you see it. A first class artwork, nicely done pretty "darky" lyrics, and a pretty roaring production-sound we get on top it all.
(7 of 10 points) (-the link to the homepage of the band)

Note: I have currently some "private troublers" to deal with or to get over and so sorry that since monday this very week nothing new saw the light of the day up here until now, but I'll try to come up with new Posts asap (maybe I'll get already today some more new stuff done, not promising anything, but we'll see; and next up will be newer releases coming up again, working towards another record-review on a new 2017 album, you can be sure about/on it. Until then and so far, have a great sunday.


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