MARTYR – For The Universe

MARTYR - For The Universe
  • 9/10
    MARTYR - For The Universe - 9/10


Rusty Cage Records
Release date: February 15, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

In the early, through the mid 1980s, Dutch Traditional Heavy Metal thrived under the wing of its most influential guardians, the NWOBHM Dutch bands like Vortex, Dark Wizard, Revenge , Allied Forces , Picture and Seducer. Although many of them were short lived ones, they enchanted the NWOBHM style of music with rougher and heavier riffs yet hung on to the British metallic melodies of acts like early Iron Maiden , Judas Priest , Saxon and many others. Martyr is one of these gem bands and they are back to inflict you with that British influence and captivating rhythms that will take you back to the time when Dutch Metal was in its rise.

This review is the first of two reviews of two releases by Martyr. This current review will be on their magnificent 80s masterpiece, For The Universe , which was newly released by the Dutch label , Rusty Cage Record. The second review will focus on their comeback EP release Fear, which is Martyr’s first war cry since their last release in 1985. These two releases were combined into a single booklet by Rusty Cage under the joint name of Fear The Universe, a truly joined operation indeed, the past meets the present.

The Martyr group came out of Utrecht in 1982 and after releasing two demos to the young Metal world, they signed with Megaton Records that originally released their debut full-length in 1984, For The Universe. This album is a true marker for the continuance of British Metal, that was still unleashing its artists, but with the help of some injections of power and a rich sound quality that suited well back in those glory days. Martyr had truly made a successful debut release that all Metal fans should embrace.

The music by Martyr is like listening to a rough Iron Maiden hearkening back between their debut album and Powerslave. The sound is almost the same between Powerslave and For The Universe but as was said earlier, Dutch bands took British Metal and made it a bit heavier and stronger like heavy and cutting riffs , magnificent solos , charming acoustic verses , a great Instrumental , “The Eibon” , that just won’t let go and the band’s addition of keyboards that brings on a solo in this great instrumental classic.

Like Iron Maiden , Martyr are trying to keep their music complex, but unlike the ways of the Progressive Metal bands, they may leave you with your mouth open but their music seems lost with all of its complexity. Martyr, additionally, has some similarities to the old Danish Heavy Metal act , Mercyful Fate in their early era, who is under the command of King Diamond , especially in the vocals section, and to American Heavy Metal’s later Prog Metal Fates Warning , also in their era of their classic , Night In Brocken from 1983.

This album, as a classic, is great almost in its whole. It all starts from the magical instrumental intro, “For The Universe”, a true rhythm for the world with an acoustic rhythm and slow solo along with atmospheric resolution. Like after any sort of calm , comes the storm with “Speed Of Samurai”. Lashing out with dive bomb guitar madness and a vicious laugh, this one is on its way to a glory ride. Galloping with a great old Maiden-ish rhythm by the skilled hands of guitarists, Rick Bouwman and Marcel Heesakkers, and the energetic , “Steve Harris”, dominant bass player, Antoine Van Der Linden, who charges with great bass leads and solos just like his legendary British counterpart from Maiden and lest not forget the vocal man , Gerard Vergouw, who blasts like King Diamond with clean and dramatic howls and showing an amazing singing skill and the talented drummer Elias Papadopoulos. An interesting anecdote regarding this number is that in its middle, some of you might raise an eyebrow when you hear the accurate intro of “Two Minutes To Midnight” ‘,which came out in the same year, so please don’t start thinking differently about Martyr, they are not copycats.

“The Eibon”, that was mentioned, is true Epic Heavy Metal with the same British roots – a work of art. “Four Wall” sounds like it is the continuance of its previous, torching you with more Maiden-ish influenced and melodic tunes. Here you will listen to another great work by Vergouw, although not Dickinson, he still maintains his place as a classic vocalist. “The Awakening” is more of a combination between Maiden and Mercyful Fate. It’s got Maiden’s melody but the music is darker like Hank Sherman and Michael Denner’s tunes from the beginning of Mercyful Fate. This one is a good song but because it has some Prog edges here and there, you will have to listen a couple more times to like it more. But nevertheless , it’s got some breaking music alongside flowing acoustics.

“Black Sun” returns to the NWOBHM format with forcefulness from all members of Martyr. The galloping chorus , bass work and solos definitely show that these guys will fight for their right. Ending this exodus, comes the outro, ”Requiem”. Again using everlasting keyboards and slow mysterious solos. But near the end you will notice that not everything is over – check it out for yourselves.

Today , Martyr is back with a new EP , Fear, that ended 24 years of silence. With their comeback , the band recruited two new members and signed with Rusty Cage Records. Check out the second part of the review as it will focus on Fear.


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.