Review: Attacking the sequestered subgenre of technical metal with a fast and precise rhythmic style placed within a rock/jazz framework not dissimilar to the later work from Death, Martyr cluster dense melodic explorations in counterpoint to rhythm riffing which builds on songs centered tonally around drifting variants of a series of phrases culminating in a quick melodic descent to a point of conflict resolving each song. Harmony is insistent and recumbent, unfurling adeptly within a balanced point of phrase to invert the suspension of tonal expectation as a whole, changing often in a closure of immediate cycle that becomes the stepping point for rectification of the next.
1. Warp Zone
3. Inner Peace
4. Virtual Emotions
5. Endless Vortex Towards Erasing Destiny
6. Hopeless Hopes
7. Retry? Abort? Ignore?
8. Carpe Diem
Copyright © 2001 Skyscraper
Suspended completion in tone outshadows the shape of phrasing, using percussive notions of phrasal fulcrum to explode with either abrupt rhythm changes or the delicate, interlaced patterns of lead guitar recursion that outline tonal placement, provides structure while embellishment becomes a consistent fill explicating the internal dialogue to string and rhythmic complements completing the boundaries of phrase context. Fiery agile fingers of lead guitar playing emphasize in a jazz/fusion style the shifting nature of tone while the importance of harmony is outlined with an evocative sense of modal settlement. In the guitar playing of this album there is a clear compositional heritage to the jazz/death of Death or Pestilence more than the acerbic and contorted theoretically nihilistic progressive works from more underground bands, and in this style metal has found a champion that eschews the sentimental indulgences of Death and foregoes all aesthetic woes to get closer to the emerging musical developments specific to this form of the genre.
Although an otherwise balanced approach allows the use of hinge phrases or other pivotal material betting its unsteadiness against the need for spatial reception to tonal advancement, songwriting changes scenery like a progressive band might in the use of phrase-contiguous extrusions which emphasize centrality to tone and adaptability of melody in the metal style. Percussion with facile and impatient descent whirls and strikes in cadences embedded within the song as counterpoint to the obvious rhythms which simpler metal bands would bring out and repeat for stability. Vocals show influences of this band in a cross between Meshuggah and later Death, with sardonic shrieks curling upward around the rhythmic punches that locate the load-bearing junctures of phrase and rhythm.
While in many ways this release hearkens toward the progressive heavy metal and jazz fusion influenced experiments of the late 1980s than to the nihilistic forerunners of the current age, its technique adapts the extreme edge of speed metal and the internal velocity and frenetic precision of death metal to a hybrid which elicits the poetry of harmonic recombination from jazz/rock styles from within the edged rhythmic and textural requirements of metal, and for this it endures as impact as well as sonic depiction of patterns of concept. This precept, combined with the essential creativity and musical knowledge of the participants in this venture, allows Martyr to make one of the finest recordings in this style from a live performance underscoring the energy and devotion of technical death metal in this vision.