• 6/10
    MARTYR - Fear - 6/10


Rusty Cage Records
Release date: February 15, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After 24 years of silence , Martyr returns to the Heavy Metal world with their new EP release, Fear, that reintroduces us to two comeback faces that came back to the group. First, is vocalist / Keyboardist, Robert Van Haren, who was exchanging places with Vergouw in the early and late 80s. While being away from Martyr during the early 90s, Van Haren was the frontman of the Dutch Prog Metallers, Mindscape. Vergouw’s leaving in 2005 brought the band an experienced Van Haren and a rougher edge to the vocals with less melody but with fierce mentality. Second, is the return of drummer Wilfried Broekman, who was in the band in the late 80’s and came back in 2005. Broekman was with Van Haren in Mindscape. This is a nice story of the family of Martyr.

After For The Universe came out, it didn’t take Martyr a lot of time to record their second release, Darkness At Time’s Edge, that was released through the Metalloid label in 1985. After that album , only demos came out between 1986-1988 and a new album wasn’t in sight. In 2005, after the lineup changes, the band went underway to find themselves again, and four years later , armed with a new label and a changed attitude, comes Fear. This is the second part of the joint release by Martyr, Fear The Universe, that came out this year under Rusty Cage Records.

While hearing this release , one can see that Martyr underwent various changes aside from their lineup. The music presented on Fear, although it’s modern times and not the 80s, has almost lost its influence from the NWOBHM and it more sounds like 90’s Heavy Metal along with dark elements. The 80’s Traditional Metal influences were not banished but suppressed. Martyr still tries to make some Maidenish efforts but on a much lighter scale, and that is why in one listen you can’t seem to find the old rhythms of glory from 1984-1985. Martyr became more aggressive, in a doomy sort of way, less melodic both on vocals and guitars and they seem to have a hard time with making interesting tunes like they did 24 years ago, but still they left some crumbs of complexity in their music to jab you with the old feeling of their early legacy.

The most successful tune on this EP is the opening track, “I Am The Most Evil”, which surprisingly, doesn’t remind even a bit of their early era. This one is fueled with grooves and minimal rhythm. What is special about it, along with the fact that is a song about Devilish Evil, is its mysterious aura that shadows it. The music itself sounds like it was forged in the pits of Abaddon.

The other songs are just average and do not come close to the opening chant. “Fear” is a nice song but its chorus tells how much the band’s old style is surely missed. The solo in the song saves it from deterioration with a good skill. In the end of the track Van Haren tries to sound modern with an unsuitable gruesome shriek – what in the world was he thinking?

“Different Kind Of Rain” starts off with a show of promise and keeps on the dark themes that engulf this whole EP. The chorus sounds like an alternative / MTV meld but it rings well. The riffs are way too simple for Martyr but they are stronger than before. The surprise is with Van Haren’s high-pitched shout that will give some a second of the past.

“Take Me Home” is one of the most annoying tracks heard in awhile. Its mid through end is a waste of time because the unlovely chorus keeps on ringing without a pause, it is unbelievable that Martyr didn’t have any other new verses to sketch on top of these parts. Although the rhythm is heavy and banging, it remains the same most of the time and it does not prove the real talents of the two veteran guitarists.

“Eaten Alive” is a nice farewell track out of this EP and it finishes the job with a cool Metallic rhythm and a much closer resemblance to the band’s past quality. The solo is a strong one, although the Wah-wah is not needed here to make it better.

There you have it folks, Fear shows that it’s important to hang on to your roots. If not, you will be making something you least expected to produce and you don’t want to gamble on the results. Martyr must go back 20 years to achieve their lost greatness – it’s the only way – the past can be resurrected.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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