||MARTYR DE MONA
(In At The Eye Records/Universal Music)
Release Date: 31st March 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
If you're a little unsure to who these fine fellows are, they hail from the Midlands, here in the UK and have supported many highly respected bands to date including Guns N'Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Alter Bridge and Black Sabbath.
They're evidently a hard working band who are rolling out the red carpet for album number four called 'Impera' and remain potent and robust in their delivery.
From the ten tracks that inhabit this album you may have stumbled across 'Influence And Persuasion' due to it being unleashed as the single. See the video here.
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Noteworthy moments on 'Impera' from this energetic and modern quartet include the closing track 'Hollow Shore', which soars through the chorus with a billion harmonic voices over the top of a swirling collaboration of rhythm and distortion; 'Influence And Persuasion' which captures the band in accessible waters and an ear for a commercial swagger; 'Sentient' with its lyrical anguish yearning for forgiveness.
Incidentally the first of those examples ('Hollow Shore') has a delightful piano refrain tucked on the tail end; I wish it was longer. You can hear this same melody as the album opens too when 'Siege Mentality' builds up to rattle the cages.
Don't go in to this album expecting an obvious Classic Rock parody, or anything resembling the bands they have supported in the live arena. These guys are very much of today and the early 2000s as they mix up their own concoction of Hundred Reasons, Funeral For A Friend and Taking Back Sunday with strong production values.
The line-up is solid and has built up a useful and cohesive chemistry as Louis Hale, Ant Rickett, Josh Wooldridge and Ashley Leatherland weave their respective parts together. The title track from the instant it begins, hammers home this point as it slows the tempo before raising the tension held within.
'Nothing Sacred' brings out an opening riff which conjures imagery of a bull swinging its head around a china shop as the drums crash and clash around the ears. There are melodies contained and delivered with a sense of intended balance throughout.
It feels to me that the approach to this album was methodical and incorporates varying layers and textures liberally which only rise to the surface of the listening experience after numerous exposures to the content. When I first heard 'Impera' I wasn't blown away to be honest with you, but after a few more spins it began to fall into place.
Several of the tracks begin with some reflective and melancholy tinged introductions before the band join in raising the bombast. Second longest track 'Suffer Unto Me' is an example of this opening before the rage within their ranks comes to the fore. The guitar work is creative with swirling and spiralling presence in the mix and gives each track personality.
On reflection, 'Impera' engages with density and a whole medley of texture making sure it retains a low level of cheese and a high level of arrangement and virtuosity during the performance. It is both fragility and angst swimming in shark-infested oceans trying to survive. You could do a lot worse than check these guys out if you enjoy this style of Hard Rock/Metal music.
'Impera' has shared sincerity and a bucket-load of emotion with each crashing chord; that's not a bad thing is it?
Influence And Persuasion
Suffer Unto Me