Just when I was ruing about not having much to listen to when it came to no-frills Deathcore, in 2014, pat came a Martyr Defiled full length! “No Hope No Morality” comes as the sophomore full length from Lincoln, UK based Death Metal/Hardcore mafia, Martyr Defiled.
Capitalizing on their Death- and to a very little extent Black- influences, Martyr Defiled unveil NHNM with a storm brewer of a number, in “Lvcifer”. Right off the bat, the listener should be able to tell the gradient of betterment in. “Demons in the Mist” is the kind of batshit crazy composition that had gotten me hooked to Martyr Defiled all that time back when the “Ecophagy EP” was released, when bands like Evita and Johnny Truant were the toast of Core-dom. A hard-hitting bass tone and equally menacing drum work by Richard Duffin make the first single of the track a hit to say the least. Given the in your face quality of breakdowns the band has strewn like land-mines all over the track this baby is bound to bruise some necks. Wait, make that all the necks.
“Sineater” is a testament to founding member and vocalist Matthew Jones enviable vocal chops. Three tracks into the album, Jones should majorly impress both new fans and old with his admirable range of vocal fries. By “616”, most of you should nod in agreement that there are hordes of mangy sounding riffs on the record, the kind that sticks in your head and play out like a soundtrack if and when your adrenaline shoots up! And if the first 4 tracks do not convince you about the heaviness on the record then “No Hope” should with that bull of a roar that vocalist Jones unleashes at the mouth of the breakdown.
What further sits well with me is that Martyr Defiled have averted clichés normally found in the Metal/Core game, such as blurring the line between the two genres. Most of the compositions on the album lean more towards the Metal side than the Core influence, which works out in favour of the compositions: A jarring tone complemented by a heavy down-tuned fretwork set the mood for each track with finesse, and somehow it really does not inch towards monotony a bit, unlike in most cases. The amalgamation of some nicely written Thrashy riffs, tastefully executed breakdowns and palm muted verses, a penchant for catchy hooks, all paint the picture for an album filled to the brim with good solid contemporary Metal.
“The Taste of Iron” sees the 5-piece get dangerously close to any amount of Thrash influence they have. Maybe it is just me, maybe I am reading into it more than necessary, but the tone and technique definitely spelt “Thrash” for me. Goes without saying this is the farthest thing from a damper for anyone. The riffs sound more infectious beyond this point and even the average listener can tell that the band is good enough at what they do to try and compete with each other, vying for the listener/critic’s attention. “Of Sheep and Swine” boasts of the creepiest and most ominous-sounding solo I have heard in a while but jokes aside, the lead work on the track is commendable to say the least. Surprisingly “Deathstare” the penultimate track has the most going on it than majority of the tracks on the album combined. Break neck drum patterns, impromptu dynamic shifts spell another hit track in my books. The album concludes the mosh-frenzy with a dapper of a curtain call in the form of “No Morality”. Highlighting the sheen of the production on the album, “No Morality” sees the band whip up the perfect end to a near-perfect album. Sticking to their comfort zone the final track is a breakdown centric one which sees vocalist Jones’ squeals doing their best to leave a lasting impression: Mission accomplished.
Martyr Defiled have not really done anything new that is essentially a game changer in the true meaning of it. However “No Hope No Morality” is an album that serves to remind the burgeoning scene under the “Core” banner that there still remains no excuse for substituting actual song writing skills with a bunch of 0’s and 1’s and one need not empty a bucket of bass-drops, sub-drops and electronic whirring on the canvas to make the outcome interesting. Playing to the strengths, merely updating the mould/template for compositions, compositions that are loud and heavy and not attention hungry (for the lack of better words) all work out wonderfully in favour of NHNM and Martyr Defiled.
“No Hope No Morality”, once again I say, is no genre bender or exceptional in its nuances; it’s just a bunch of tracks that are very well written; a bunch of tracks that actually ask the listener “Listen to me” and goes to the extent of grabbing them by the jugular and shoving oodles of groove down their ear and throat! Reminding me why I had liked this band so much in the first place, this album is a must listen for anyone who knows what kind of music we review here.