Unbeing – Raptus EP

Unbeing - Raptus promo photo

Following on from their seemingly universally acclaimed debut album, Canadian progressive metallers Unbeing have released the exceptional Raptus EP, a rich and compelling journey for the imagination and emotions. As technically captivating and enthralling as it is evocatively absorbing and invigorating, the four track release whisks the listener across an expansive landscape of sound and adventure but one also soaked with an intimacy which provocatively caresses thoughts and feelings. It is a compelling and exhilarating proposition, easily one of the most pungently inspiring instrumental releases in quite a while.

Formed in 2006, Unbeing began as a three piece. Line-up changes ensued whilst two demos in 2008 and the following year respectively, drew strong and enthused reactions. The Montreal band then won Metal Académie 2, a two month competition judged by the likes of Kataklysm. The next step in the evolution of the band, seemingly inspired by the judges’ comments of that competition, saw the band dispense with vocals and concentrate on their already striking instrumental explorations. Over the past eight or so years the band has continued to evolve and impress live, sharing stages with bands such as Neuraxis, The Red Chord, Walls Of Jericho, Martyr, Katatonia, Incision, Anonymus, Beyond Creation, and Scale The Summit along the way. 2011 was the year of their self-titled debut album, with the band at this point grown to a quintet. It received acclaim from fans and media alike, its re-release two years later as a re-mixed and re-mastered vinyl edition equally devoured by the metal community. Now it is the time of the Raptus EP to spark the passions, something its twenty minute flight across a Montreal Metro themed incitement is sure to repeat time and time again as it draws minds and hearts into its imaginative aural poetry.

Unbeing opens up EP and imagination with Rapture which from the first wind of metal on rail coaxes with an evocative melodic enticement which wraps elegantly and creatively around ears and thoughts. Rhythms shuffle erratically Raptus artbut purposefully over the senses as guitars and keys cast a fine web of intrigue and awakening urgency. It is a dawning, an inventively expressive entrance into a busy and continually but gently escalating fever of activity and emotionally rich dramatic hues. The outstanding track flows into the next carriage of the evolving adventure, the following Batterie Faible bringing a more settled and sultry air to the emerging scenery. There is a jazzy breeze and breath to the caress of the song, again the guitar of Sherif El-Maghraby and the seducing keys of Martin Labelle washing over ears with a contagiously picturesque and melodically fuelled sonic design. Entwining peaceful climes and tenacious rapacity, the song intermittently seduces and agitates the emerged vision in thoughts, bursts of aggressive intent swarming across less intensive moments. It is all irresistibly framed and veined by the shadowed emotional hunger of Jean-Philippe Bédard’s drums and the increasingly provocative swing and flirtatious grooves of bass from Alexandre D’Amour, their drama alone potent fuel for the quite exceptional and embracing, physically and mentally, piece of adventure.

Over the two songs thoughts of the likes of Tesseract and Pelican come forward but also in different ways others like The Ocean and indie instrumental band Human Pyramids, particular elements, textures, and melodic paintings pulling loose but definite comparisons. The next up Tetris Rufus sparks similar thoughts but again another fluid shift in the journey sees the listener taken into darker more metallic structuring within a melodically incendiary climate. There is a volatile edge to the piece too, guitars striking at ears with jagged riffs whilst rhythms pounce upon and bustle their way across the senses. That rugged swirl of intent and intensity though is tempered and held in the thick emotive heated hug of resourceful keys, their touch and suasion a constantly changing mesh of warm feelings and anger defusing vivacity.

Final track 2nd Cup flows elegantly out of another underground sourced sample between songs. It swirl and dances with seductive melodies for an immersive mesmeric embrace to which more mercurial flames of heavier incitement and energy smoulder with urgent intensity across the incoming sunset of sound around another ebbing of adventure. El-Maghraby exploits the frenetic climax of the experience deliciously, his fingers manipulating the final throes of the journey and crescendo of emotion before the eventual peace of the destinations end clangs and leaves its disappearing mark. As all tracks it is a sublime piece of composing and realisation to which the band add their individual and united insatiably scintillating descriptions.

Raptus is the perfect instrumental adventure, one which never gets fussy or over-elaborate, but also never misses the opportunity to aurally and emotionally explore every nook and cranny of its ideation and premise as well as the imagination of the listener. The Raptus EP is an essential investigation which if you are quick Unbeing has made available for free download until the end of July at their own website. What still here?

The Raptus EP is available now via BLK COQ Music and at http://www.unbeingmusic.com/



RingMaster 18/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Architect Of Seth – The Persistence Of Scars


The Persistence Of Scars is an album which leaves you bruised and disorientated, mentally exhausted and at times bewildered, but mostly the debut album from French Progressive death metallers Architect Of Seth, leaves you transfixed and aggressively keen for its unrelenting unpredictability and technical magnetism. It is a demanding release which definitely needs a concentrated time to unravel its creative maelstrom, something which arguably is never wholly achieved even after a tide of visits, but it is a ‘chore’ always welcome and rewarding.

Architect Of Seth was forged in 2006 as a solo project by guitarist/vocalist Paul Rousseaux who released a pair of demos, Eldorado that same year and Pax-Labor in 2007. Subsequently guitarist Yohann Kochel linked up with the Caen project, expanding a sound and depth which takes inspirations from the likes of Death, Theory in Practice, Coroner, Pestilence, Nocturnus, Bathory, Emperor, Martyr, and Necrophagist into its technical and ravenous invention. The Persistence Of Scars is the pair’s debut album, a creative tempest exploring themes of hate, science, religion, and nature within a ferocious furnace of imagination and hostility which whether venomously cascading or rabidly savaging the senses unleashes a spellbinding intrigue. The album is often mentally corrosive and physically punishing, rarely an easy listen but always offering a lure which locks in the imagination and appetite.

The Persistence Of Scars opens up with LFDY and its gentle stroking of evocative melodies. It sets a peaceful and warm scene, the guitars casting colourful bait and coaxing skies before a lumbering rhythmic intimidation and darker shadows to all facets, cloud over the landscape. It is a portentous breath now igniting the imagination, the foreplay to a thrash driven onslaught of rapaciously intensive riffs, animosity clad rhythms, and the hoarse scowls of Rousseaux. It is a relatively straight forward assault, though already teasing as sonic and unpredictable designs begin to unveil their tenacity. Now settled into its tempestuous purpose, the guitars of the two protagonists twist and cast a maze of persistently testing enterprise through the song. It is the beginnings of a spiralling technically striking ingenuity which at times makes perfect sense and in others just loses thoughts and understanding, which is where repeat plays is essential with an album like this. There is cohesiveness and fluidity to it all though which never falters in its hold of an increasingly hungry appetite for what is developing and never derails the malevolent toxicity and ravenous brutality at the song’s core.

The first track is alone an exhaustive tsunami of predacious imagination, so with six more similarly sculpted propositions to come, a legacy of hard work is inevitable starting with Engender of Confusion. Riffs and grooves are immediate and as intensive as the rhythms alongside them, each worming under and pounding the skin respectively as the caustic spite of Rousseaux scars the air around them. With crystalline shards of keys flirting with ears within the by now merciless torrent of vicious charm and debilitating ideation, whilst orchestral tempting plays with emotions, the track sears flesh and thoughts as it seduces both ears and mind with insatiable inventive rabidity. Arguably easier on the psyche because of its relatively brief length compared to the first, the song also finds a greater clarity to its no less bedlamic ingenuity before making way for Transhumance Astrale. The third track takes little time in firing up the primal instincts with a torrent of thrash/metal suasion before warping it all with breath-taking skills and perplexing yet deliciously gripping, psyche violating creative intercourse. The track, as all, is a storm of technical mastery and constantly evolving revelations to again captivate and fluster, but most of all ruggedly enthral.

By this point already the album is wearing down the senses it has to be said, though not the hunger for more. As mentioned, in many ways it is not certainly physically an easy listen which is compounded as both Embrace of Anguish and Hybrid Consuming Flesh unleash their fiercely creative and intertwining inventory. The first of the pair brings some respite though with a mesmeric classically honed piano enticement to seduce ears and inflames thoughts initially. It is a bewitching piece which eventually drifts away for the impending storm. Thunderous rhythmic clouds and sonic strikes blow across the senses before a malevolent haunting and intensive juggernaut of provocative sound suffocates light and peace. Its instrumentation and aural narrative is mouth-watering, a tight capture of the passions which does lose some of its grip with the entering rage of vocals and manic invention with constantly unsettles in its turns and expulsions. At times the track is irresistible and in other moments pushes its boundaries beyond organic accessibility, yet still it entrances and steals the imagination for a pleasing if unsure success. Its successor is a more bestial provocation with a flank ferociously rippling with again unsettling ideas and creative incitement. It also offers a great emotive persuasion of keys at times, a beacon within the corrosive belly of the savage beast.

The album concludes with firstly the outstanding Tears Empty of Sadness, a track which finds a more balanced blend of extreme metal vindictiveness and technical exploration which is why it takes best track honours. Everything works perfectly, the invention of the band still flaming intensively but finding a more understanding fit with the toxic brutality of the song. Every song on The Persistence Of Scars impresses it is fair to say but this one shows the potential of the band most intensively as they further grow into and hone their undoubted skills and ingenuity. The song’s success is supported enjoyably by Teacher of Nocturna, another track to align the maniacal technical beauty and gut instinct severity of the band for a grievously strong and testing, but smoother to understand and relish creative onslaught.

The Persistence Of Scars is a great and demanding encounter which leaves a satisfied wake whilst suggesting that Architect Of Seth has the potential to create a classic ahead. This album is not it but holds all the pieces and keys to the potential sculpting of one.

The Persistence of Scars is available as a 7 track CD via Great Dane Records @ http://www.greatdanerecs.com/ or a 3 song download @ http://architectofseth.bandcamp.com/



RingMaster 17/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Chariots of The Gods: Tides of War

Chariots of the Gods -Tides of War official (group)

     Exploding out from the depths of the underground, Tides of War the debut album from Canadian metallers Chariots of The Gods, is quite simply sensational, a metal album of the highest order. It offers no indulgency or pretences to mislead on paper or aurally, but openly knows what it is good at and delivers those aspects with a passion and force which few other bands certainly recently have matched. Fusing diverse textures and sounds from melodic metal, thrash, and death, their music and album is simply a tour de force of metal.

Formed in 2007 by guitarist Mathieu St-Amour alongside bassist Christian Methot and guitarist Christian Carrière, the Ottawa band grew into a quintet with the addition of drummer Rich O’Neil and vocalist Renaud Jobin. Soon impressing live, the band released to very strong responses their Reverence EP in 2010. The release pushed them onto another level locally and sparked better opportunities live for the band, though the end of the same year going into the next saw the departure of Methot and Carrière. Moving forward though Chariots of the Gods brought in long-time friend and guitarist Dimitri Gervais and bassist Payam Doryani and set about laying waste with their towering sound. The band has bruised stages alongside the likes of Misfits, Voivod, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Misery Index, Martyr, Fuck the Facts, Blackguard, Neuraxis, and The Agonist, over the years and now burst into the world with their triumphant first full length release.

The Glen Robinson (Gwar, Annihilator, Queensryche, Voivod) produced album is a thrilling tempest of insatiable riffs, rhythms Tides of War - Cover - High Reswhich make demands no one should be forced to take but do willingly, and deliciously confrontational vocals. Spread throughout there is also a melodic and sonic enterprise which burns like an invigorating furnace and combined the result is one of the most impressive metal albums in recent years. Self released, Tides of War immediately from its dramatic and compelling opening instrumental Overture has a hold over the ear and thoughts. It is brief yet the perfect atmospheric lure into the epic intensity and drive of the album starting with the ravaging Seventh Weapon. The first seconds consists of thumping beats and sizzling guitar twists around the ear before expelling a ferocious breath through the squalling scowls of Jobin and an avalanche of rhythms. Now settled into its fearsome charge the track towers over the senses with the intensity and expansive reach of a storm. Across its bristling sinews and colossal breath, the track unleashes a whip lash triggering attack from O’Neil, exceptional and fiery melodic persuasion from the guitars of St-Amour and Gervais, and an irresistible raptorial vocal devouring.

As in the first full song, Blind Assassin reveals the prowling might of bassist Doryani; it is not always an aspect with as much clarity as the other elements but removed would undoubtedly leave a big gaping hole and when the heavily consuming notes find clarity of voice, the songs just bulge with impressive shadows. The third track is a less forceful entity than its predecessor with a sonic elegance which lays rough caresses over the ear, though it is not lacking any demanding spirit or heart either. It arguably pales a little against the previous track but outshines so many efforts from other artists.

Each and every track is immense and in varying degrees offers hints of the influences which vein the sound. Within the likes of Ambrosian Wings, the Russian Revolution inspired pair of the crushing Revillusion (1905) and the voracious Severing the Bloodline (1917), and the violently smouldering Red Skies, as examples, essences of the likes of In Flames, Norther, Testament, Lamb of God, and August Burns Red are apparent and add extra spice to the rich sonic menu of the band. As to be expected some songs reach the highest pinnacles and the biggest highlights on Tides of War come firstly with the title track. It is a thunderous rampage of sizzling guitar magnetism and invention driven by again the tumultuous and outstanding rhythms of O’Neil.  It is the perfect blend of aggression and melodic persuasion which chews up the senses whilst treating them to a fine dining of sonic imagination. Further lofty heights come with the senses grasping and obliterating Collapse of an Empire with its delicious spearing flames of melodic intrigue, and the corrosive and glorious Unbound which also features Aleksi Sihvonen from Norther.

The album is not just intensity and brawling aggression though as to perfectly break up the onslaught there are a couple of compelling instrumentals in the enthralling shapes of Snow Falls On The White River (1914) and Nebula, both beautiful pieces of music in their very different guises and far from interludes and fillers.

Tides of War is an exceptional creative ambush for the heart with a rage of the fullest rewards and an expressive depth of unbridled undiluted metal. You may not have heard of Chariots of The Gods before now but that is sure to change very soon as their album is exposed to the wider world.


RingMaster 29/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Melissa VanFleet: Stars In My Eyes EP

A year and a half in the making, the Stars In My Eyes EP by New York City based singer songwriter Melissa VanFleet was by her own admission a test of patience in its creation. But with her unwavering determination the release has finally emerged to show why the time and hard work was so worth well. It is a collection of songs to open up a new side and wider imaginative scope for the artist and a magnetic invitation to her refined and tenderly crafted sounds for all yet to feel her passionate sounds.

From a young child Melissa has had music in not only her heart but mind too, the singer saying in her bio “As a little girl, I used to record my voice singing popular 90s songs and then listen back and critique every single note and write down what I thought I could improve on,” she recalls. “It was my idea of fun at the time but I never realized how much I was actually learning through the process.” A self confessed perfectionist, Melissa worked with and experienced different expressions of music through time alongside pop and R&B producers in New York City and New Jersey, moving and living in Nashville for four years where she honed her songwriting and style, and performing regularly at places such as The Bluebird Cafe and Ellendale’s, The Drake Hotel’s notorious Coq d’Or in Chicago, and NYC’s oldest rock club The Bitter End. The self-taught vocalist and accomplished dancer picked up, analysed, and learnt from every aspect and experience to add to her ideas and craft and shape their evolution. This attention to detail is evident on the new EP, a release which sees her moving from predominantly just her mesmeric voice and accomplished piano caresses to a band scenario, the results exceeding already high expectations and offering something pleasingly different but no less impressive and irresistible.

Produced by Joel Schwamburger, who she met during her time in Nashville, the EP brings five eclectic and stirring songs to thrill the ear and light the passions. The title track is one which does just that and more. From its brooding atmosphere and soaring piano chimes the song immediately brings a large presence which is lit by the glorious voice of Melissa. The track opens into a reserved yet powerful rock pop song, its whispers gold kisses and melodies molten manna for the ear. Now complete with drums, bass, and sharp guitar invention there is a definite shift in her music which shouts out to long time fans but a move which with no criticism of her previous acoustic glories, is immense and greedily welcomed. There is a passion to the song which is heart borne and though it never erupts into the raucous energy it at times suggests, it leaves one basking in a heated contagious beauty.

Lovestruck, a song chosen as “Song of the Week” by Incubus manager Steve Rennie on his own website, shows the diversity to the tracks, the song a link to her older material by being an acoustic piano and voice based song. That is not how it remains though as soon the song is weaving a glamour of orchestral enchantment and emotive piano to cradle her as usual evocative tones.  The song further stokes up the fires the fuller into its stride it gets, the orchestral wraps and strokes like eighties pop teases as found in the likes of ABC.

Play By The Rules and Cut The Ties continue the diversity, the first a blues walk through an impassioned haze of feeling which sends tingles through the spine and the second a rock pop blast of infectious and boisterous energy. Both songs capture the imagination from the first notes through to their last but Cut The Ties grabs top honours on the release such its insistent breath and stomping energy. There is a spice to its drive which reminds of Pat Benatar and a pop element which glistens within the sturdier rock n roll intent. Actually though it is a magnificent song, it is one which misses its full potential, though that goes to show how great it is. As with the whole release the production is clean and giving to the great creativity and realisation at work but personally this one song actually calls out for a rawer edge, a surface which bites at the ear. Despite that it leaves nothing less than deep satisfaction and pleasure inside such its might.

The release is completed by a newly mastered version of acoustic gem Martyr, a track which already had won the hearts of her fans and drawn many more to her music. The new version has sharpened an already great song into something of pure emotive mesmerism, the orchestral arrangements the perfect companion to the delicious vocals and piano craft of Melissa.

Stars In My Eyes is a wonderful release which marks Melissa VanFleet as one of the most instinctive and imaginative emerging songwriters and performers and sure to find a whole new audience to add to her already enamoured fans. With great attention already bestowed upon the EP within its first weeks and The Reputation Radio Show providing its worldwide introduction and championing the release weekly, you can only feel the deserved wide recognition for Melissa is right around the corner.

Melissa has pledged a portion of the proceeds from Stars In My Eyes (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), to find out more about the release and artist go to http://www.melissavanfleet.com.

For an interview with Melissa with The Reputation Radio Show check out the show @ https://www.spreaker.com/user/reputationmedia/melissa_vanfleet_plus_more

RingMaster 16/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Interview with Rick Bouwman of Martyr


 Having made a distinct mark on the eighties before disbanding in 1987, Dutch rockers Martyr have completed their return with their brand new album Circle of 8 via Metal Blade Records. Eager to find out about the Martyr’s past and present we had the chance and pleasure to talk with guitarist Rick Bouwman, who gave us the background to the band and the new release.

A warm welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thank you for taking time to talk about the band and the new album with us.

Firstly would you for people not aware of the band introduce the members and give some background to Martyr?

Martyr is:

·         Rick Bouwman- Guitars

·         Marcel Heesakkers – Guitars

·         Rop van Haren – Vocals

·         Toine van der Linden – Bass

·         Wilfried Broekman – Drums

This story about MARTYR is going to be a long answer. Well let me start here:
Originally MARTYR is a cult classic metal band established in the early 80’s During the five years that Martyr was alive and kicking back then (1982-1987), the band released two albums that are considered cult in the Metal scene today. ‘For The Universe’ (1985) and ‘Darkness At Time’s Edge’ (1986) are classic Metal. Our style is described as a delight for those who love strong melodies, speedy riffs and a high level of technicality.
When MARTYR started average age was only about 17 years old, but still the band was immediately searching for and implementing their own style. With the urgent wish to be different than the already established Dutch Metal bands like for instance Picture and Vengeance.

Also in  those years, Martyr appeared on compilation albums from Roadrunner (Dutch Steel) where we participated with “Snow & Fire” and Metal Blade (Metal Massacre VI) where we participated with the song “En Masse (Stand Or Die) “ . In Holland MARTYR was voted best new Metal band in Aardschok magazine, and toured with several international acts. MARTYR also appeared on Sky Channel’s Monsters Of Rock and rapidly the band became a bigger name in the international metal scene.

We disbanded in 1987, but reunited in 2001 to play the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. After being asked by the Dutch fanatic fans that could not forget about the band.
Four years later, the band revived almost the complete 1982 line up to play the  Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air festivals. It was the KIT reunion show that is still very important for us as it woke up the flame again. There were so many fans from all over Europe that knew all about the band and the old material , that gave the band such a great response and interaction which was almost unbelievable !
The flame has been burning again since these festivals and the band continued to play live ever since. December 2008 MARTYR supported US Shock Rockers Lizzy Borden on their European tour. But also in the years after that MARTYR kept on hitting the European stages supporting great acts like Flotsam & Jetsam , Vicious Rumors, Jaguar, Evergrey a.o.
Meanwhile in 2004 we rereleased our 2 albums on CD on High Vaultage Records. Additional bonus tracks were added ad well.

In 2009 the first new Martyr record in almost 25 years has been released . That’s when the new EP ‘Fear’ was coupled with again a  re-release of the classic ‘For The Universe’ album as a double digipack entitled ‘Fear The Universe’ on Rusty Cage Records (RCR0017).  When RCR asked us to do the rerelease for the For The Universe album at first MARTYR said “No”. Because it was already out on High Vaultage at that time. After a few years when RCR kept on asking we agreed but with extra and new bonus material which resulted not in 1 song, but in 5 brand new songs to appear on the Fear CD.

In 2010 and 2011 Martyr re-entered the studio between the live shows,  by working on the successor for ‘Fear’.
That is the complete new album called “Circle Of 8”, which is released by Metal Blade Records in November 2011 worldwide. You bet this will be a significant impulse in Martyr’s revival.  And by signing with Metal Blade again : “We Are Back Home”…….

Can we first talk about the band in the 80’s? You gathered strong acclaim through your music, live shows, and two albums, what was the metal scene like back then for you?

When you talk about the Dutch Metal scene  : There were not many bands playing in the style that we did when we started. In fact that is WHY we started, we wanted to sound like something else. The other Dutch metal bands at that time were considered more straight forward heavy rock, we wanted more technicality and speedy riffs with strange notes or different measure types or rhythms in it.
I think we managed to do so, afterwards you noticed more bands willing to play that style as well in Holland. What is great about that time and the Dutch Metal Scene is that because the country is small everybody knew each other.

When we released our albums they were strongly recognizable by our own sound, in that way we really stood out.

What were the influences that flavoured your music?

In contradiction to what most people think our influences are not the great bands like Iron Maiden or Metallica but mostly the very early Queensryche (Queen Of The Ryche EP) , underground metal bands like Warlord, Satan Jokers (France) and Jap metal like X Ray, Loudness, Earthshaker at that time. Already then we were trying to find new music or bands that were ahead of the traditional scene. I think that’s why we also were a few steps ahead in the Dutch Metal scene as well. Great metal bands with unique styles.

Martyr disbanded in 1987 what was the reason?

The split up was mainly because of the pressure of finding a new record company for a new release. And the way the company (a major company)  forced us , ignorant as we were these days as youngsters (imagine that we were average not even 17 years of age when we started with MARTYR)  , to write into a new artistic direction. We tried but just could not do that. We could not write in a different style just because someone else wanted us to do so. MARTYR has always been MARTYR, whether you liked it or not, but has always , as we do now, done what we wanted to do ourselves and what we wanted to sound like ourselves. So don’t ask us to write a hit single on command…..because that’s what happened.
We were close in signing that major deal, but were not even happy as a band……and  when the major deal did not happen as well……the curtain fell. That is mainly the reason the band fell apart…….
The lesson we learned is that never we will write songs outside our own style commissioned by somebody else again. We only will write what we want to write ourselves.

What were you doing from that point to reuniting in 2001?

Every MARTYR member continued in the music business in all kinds of (metal) bands. Results of these projects or bands can be also heard as bonus tracks by the way on the High Vaultage reissues from “For The Universe” and “Darkness At Times Edge”

The band came back together for the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival of that year, was this the only reason for reforming?

Yes it was, It was a one of a kind thing at that time. It was great by the way. But it was supposed to be 1 show only just for the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs Fanclub.

What happened to inspire you all to make the reunion a permanent and forward looking situation?

So the first reunion was 2001 for the Dutch Metal fanclub: The Heavy Metal Maniacs.  They organise a great festival every year. When we rehearsed for that one it felt like we never stopped. Things just went natural.
But the real decision of MARTYR’s come back was about 4 or 5 years later. The band revived almost the complete 1982 line up to play the Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air festivals. It was the KIT reunion show that is still very important for MARTYR as it woke up the flame again. There were so many fans from all over Europe that knew all about the band and the old material, that gave us  such a great response and interaction which was almost unbelievable ! The flame has been burning again since these festivals and MARTYR continued to play live ever since.

Is there a big difference you found from the times in the 80’s to being a band now? Not so much for yourselves but the scene you have come back into.

Not especially the metal scene but within the music industry in general it is hard nowadays for a band to get records sold as we all know.  And besides that, the offer of releases is even then still tremendous. Every band can release a CD, compared to the eighties where a band with a record deal or a record out was something unique. On the other side, with internet , social media ecetera you can do large promotion activities and reach many people. But then again it is a challenge not to “get lost” in the amount of news and information fans are receiving nowadays.
So there are pros and cons but as a band MARTYR has to be satisfied with the way things are going now and were going back then.

You have just released Circle of 8 your new album, though you previously released your Fear EP in 2009 how does it feel to be back with a new release and material? 

The Circle Of 8 album is again a big step forward , being on Metal Blade Records, having done several European tours, and again having gained more studio and live experience. I think this  has resulted in just being a better and tighter MARTYR than ever before.
What was a great thing i experienced in the studio was  this vibe we all felt that was going on and growing stronger and stronger as the recording sessions were going along. Not only we noticed this but also our producer and master engineer. Also our friends from Vicious Rumors who participated on some songs on the “CO8”.album felt it as well. There was something remarkable going on. I hope this vibe and this joy of making this record will be heard on the album by our fans as well. And after that : hopefully we will meet as many fans as we can on the road to promote the new album!

Did you have to change your approach the album especially recording wise from your previous albums?

No, we do it the way we want to do it.  But….for the writing we took more time, also because we were on the road a lot. In the studio we were very much more experienced of course after all these years. But what is do think also has not changed with the way we approached our previous albums is that you still can feel and hear the energy and atmosphere we have in the studio.  I think even especially on this “CO8” album that is captured during the recordings.
For the writing we took more time as well as for the recording part , also because we were on the road a lot. The whole process took 14 months. There was no time pressure. In between recordings our record company at that time Rusty age Records even called it quits. That sucked but we had to move on . Fortunately, after hearing 3 brand new songs , Metal Blade Records decided to release the new album on their label , which of course we are very proud of.

We are an 80’s band of course  but we are also 25 years further. After MARTYR split up in 1987 and all of us continued their music careers we have all learned a lot during those years, have become better musicians and have been listening to also lots of other bands that may have influenced us as well.
So we took these influences with us as a natural thing . But at the same time we never will forget where we came from , so the 80’s style is still in there as well and that is what you hear on the “CO8” album as far as i am concerned.
Songs like “Insensible Scream” are in the 80’s style, and of course we have the re recording of “Speed” on it. The spirit is still there, the enthusiasm has never disappeared, maybe even better than ever before . That is also visible when you come to see MARTYR live.

Importantly you have brought your sound right up to date in power and intensity without losing your original sound and flair. Was this something that naturally happened or did you have to work at fusing the two?

This was a natural thing to be honest. We play and write the way we want to . We have the 80’s influences but are also 25 years further. Did a lot of live shows, played with very interesting bands, listened to lots of great metal bands, all things that may have influenced and made us a better band than we were already.  We took these influences with us as a natural thing . But at the same time we never will forget where we came from , so the 80’s style is still in there as well.  And that is what you hear on the “CO8” album as far as i am concerned. The 80’s  style is strongly connected or represented to the our current style

What was the major difference in the studio that you found?

We recorded quite traditionally, not with pro tools or stuff like that. Big difference was the amount of equipment especially guitars and amps we had available to work with and to find the best sound we needed with. That was great !
We do work much quicker now than 25 years ago  with hard disk technology  instead of a 24 track tape recorder. But still we record live and are not setting things up note by note.

Did the album match or exceed your expectations and hopes going in to recording it?

The spirit is there, the enthusiasm has never disappeared, maybe even better than ever before . That is what you hear on the Circle Of 8. It is by far much better than what we expected when we started the process.
What was a great thing i experienced in the studio was  this vibe we all felt that was going on and growing stronger and stronger as the recording sessions were going along. Not only we noticed this but also our producer and master engineer. Also our friends from Vicious Rumors who participated on some songs on the “CO8”.album felt it as well. There was something remarkable going on. I hope this vibe and this joy of making this record will be heard on the album by our fans as well.

Returning must have been ripe with exciting and new things after such a long gap but is there a negative that was unexpected that you have found?

No , nothing at all. Everything seems to be going so smoothly and the way reactions are being received for this new album CO8 is really overwhelming.  Ever since our return it has been nothing but fun , joy and great response. And that is why we do it for the main reason really. Would not want it any other way.

What music or bands were you listening to in between the band’s first life and now that has touched or inspired your new sound in some way?

Oh well,  i listened to Pantera a  lot, i really dig Dimebag of course. But olden goldies like Van Halen I were and still are in my cd player regularly as well. But inspiration can come from all kind of bands, also the bands we toured with like Lizzy Borden or Flotsam & Jetsam. The latest Flotsam album is one of the greatest albums from last year !

Have you found already a rekindled interest in your previous releases from a new breed of fan?

Oh yes, that is remarkable that we see our old fans but also new fans at our shows and the young fans are re- discovering our early stuff. I think we just did something good back then haha. These youngsters often really are into the 80’s and love our old songs, like Speed Of Samurai , which has now become MARTYR greatest hit haha.

What is next for Martyr?

First do live promotion for this album. We are working on more dates to come but will do shows nationally and internationally . We started on Nov 4th in Holland with a great release party and will play Benelux , UK and Switzerland to start with in Nov and Dec. Plans are being made for more club shows 2012 and the festivals after May 2012.
But i think soon we will start writing new material already again as well !

A great many thanks for sparing time to talk with us. Good luck with Circle of 8. Is there a last thought or comment you would like to leave us with?

Yes, first of all thanks to Ringmaster for the support . But also a very big THANKS to all MARTYR fans that supported us continuously throughout all these years.  Hope to meet you all on the road soon ! Rock On !

Circle of 8 is available now via Metal Blade Records. For more info go to http://www.metalblade.com/english/artists/martyr/bio.php


Read the Circle of 8 Review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/martyr-%E2%80%93-circle-of-8/

RingMaster 16/11/2011

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Martyr – Circle of 8

Circle of 8 is the first full length return for Dutch rockers Martyr since their return a couple of years ago, an album that reignites the appeal they had at their height in the mid 80’s fused with an attack forged in modern intent. The album consists of twelve bustling tracks that link their origins to the now with satisfying effect if not with spectacular results, but overall is an enjoyable album that achieves its aim to entertain and rouse the spirit.

1982 saw Martyr begin their five years of existence, grabbing strong acclaim and adoration from fans and the release of their two albums, For The Universe (1985) and Darkness At Time’s Edge (1986) which became cult metal classics.  Compilation appearances and shared stages with international bands saw their stock rise even further until they disbanded in 1987. Then in 2001 the band reunited to play the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival, and four years later the Headbangers Open Air and Keep It True festivals when most of the 1982 line-up came back together. The closing dark of 2008 saw the band support Lizzy Borden on their European tour, and the following two years had Martyr supporting legendary acts such as Flotsam & Jetsam, Vicious Rumors, Jaguar, Evergrey and more around Europe.

2009 also saw Fear a new EP from the band released coupled with a re-release of For The Universe as a double digipack on Rusty Cage Records. Now back with a vengeance the band entered the studio during 2010 and 2011 in between live shows to record Circle of 8, which is released this month on Metal Blade Records. The album as well as a welcome return for existing fans is sure to garner in an ever increasing source of new fans with its strong heavy rock sounds and determined metal power.  

The album starts off with ‘D.I.’ a strong track that sets the release off impressively if not dramatically. The great military drum beginning from Wilfried Broekman is not particularly original but always gets the pulse rate stirred up. Catchy and probing riffs from guitarists Rick Bouwman and Marcel Heesakkers race ahead with deliberate intrusion whilst the bass of Toine van der Linden drops strong rhythms alongside the eager drums. The vocals of Rop van Haren are enthused with good control which is not always the case further into the tracks of Circle of 8.

Afterlife’ follows with a firm Metallica/Megadeth like feel and lifts the levels from the satisfactory opener. Urgent riffs and striking guitar play sets the track up well to pleasure the senses with skilful old school metal and 2011 intensity. The track like the album is a grower with subsequent plays unveiling some of the deeper creative touches and punishing elements. Musically throughout the album the band are tight and creative, their heavier and more forceful moments outweighing their melodic interplays though these are striking enough. At times the band is wonderfully  incessant as on ‘Art Of Deception’ and ‘The Uninvited’ and in others demanding with riffs and power that batters the senses as in the title track and ‘Justified Killing’. There is great variation throughout from the hard and dirty aggression to classic rock in songs like ‘All Warriors Bleed’ and ‘Scene Of Hell’.

Circle of 8 is a good album but the major flaw comes from the vocals of van Haren. Now admittedly personal taste is coming into play here as classic rock vocals and high squeals always bring a cringe and unwanted taste but at times where the music has leapt into the now van Haren has not, his delivery is straight out of the 80’s and the band’s heyday and at times it does not work as well as they and he deserves. The tracks where his clean swells and supporting growls merge are by far the best and most effective and hopefully this is an area they will pursue ahead.  As said this is part personal taste and probably not an issue for many others.

Martyr is not only back but looking more forward than behind with Circle Of 8 an album that will please the old and the new fans equally.

RingMaster 08/11/2011

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