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Martyr: Planet Metalhead

Martyr is a heavy metal band from The Netherlands. Formed in 1982, the band made some waves in the early eighties before going on a hiatus for the best part of 15 years. The band reformed in 2005 and they’ve been releasing new albums with some regularity in the time since. Planet Metalhead is the title of their latest album.

Planet Metalhead is a solid traditional heavy metal album- it’s got a little bit of everything going on at times meaning that most fans of Power metal & Traditional heavy metal will find something to enjoy on the release. The usual overt Maiden & Priest style influences are on show (as is customary), but it’s not all NWOBHM throwbacks from top to bottom.

On this album I can hear a band that is actively trying to write epic tunes for their fans, pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and incorporating a range of different ideas into the mix- they’ve set out to make typical tracks sound less typical. The introduction to "Raise Your Horns, Unite!" is a good example of what I’m trying to touch on; the band start the album with a piano line & eerie children’s vocals, before the distorted guitars and "Fear of the Dark" style oooOOOOoooo vocals make you aware that you’re listening to a Martyr album. I like that they’ve got grander plans in mind than just rehashing the same well-worn ideas, and that they’re brave enough to put themselves out there. Not all of these ideas sit that well with me though, with the "Suite Sister Mary" style intro that leads off "Church of Steel" being an example of an idea that seems slightly uninspired and unnecessary.

The guitar work and drumming on the album is tidy and I really like a lot of the riff ideas on this release. The vocal performance is generally good too- there’s a lot of variation in tone and style which keeps things interesting; jumping between high falsettos, powerful mid range lines and lower register crooning sections. There are a few moments where I get a bit of a ‘live recording’ feel to the vocals. I respect the honesty/rawness of the performance; it gives the album a bit of a human aspect which I find to be somewhat charming (albeit a little naïve coming from a band of this vintage). I assume they have opted for ‘passion over precision’ when deciding which vocal takes made the cut.

Whilst Planet Metalhead has some flaws, there are certainly enough good moments on the album to make it worth checking out if you’re into Traditional Heavy Metal styles.

Track List
1. Raise Your Horns, Unite!
2. Demon Hammer
3. Children Of The Night
4. Fire Of Rebellions
5. No Time For Goodbyes
6. Metal Overdrive
7. La Diabla!
8. Diary Of A Sinner
9. Church Of Steel
10. Wings In A Darkened Soul

Added: February 13th 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 715
Language: english

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