Title: Planet Metalhead
Label: Pt78 Records
Release date: 24 February 2022
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording
Martyr is a Heavy Metal band from the Netherlands that was formed in 1982, and after a few demos they released two fantastic albums in the ‘80s, “For the Universe” (1985) and “Darkness at Time’s Edge” (1986), pure classic sound, and I must say I love those albums. They disbanded in 1989 after releasing a few more demos, and in 2005 they rose from their ashes, with different vocalist and drummer, to spread Dutch Metal around the world again. The only thing is… their sound had changed. They released “Circle of 8” in 2011 and their music had turned into something more Groove/Thrash/modern stuff… and honestly, that album didn’t thrill me. I’m not saying the music was bad, oh no, it’s just it wasn’t “speaking” to me. Then, in 2016 “You Are Next” arrived and it was more or less in the same vein, even though there were a few hints of something changing… I wasn’t feeling the same love for Martyr as before (even if they included the track “Don’t Need Your Money” as the closing one, a classic Heavy Metal song!). But I’ve always felt deep respect towards this band, no matter the changes.
And now… well, I must say I wasn’t excited about their upcoming new album, in fact I was only curious, that’s why I listened to it when I saw the promo. And now I am so surprised! What has happened to Martyr?, I asked myself. Right from the start I was trapped with the high level of energy in “Raise Your Horns, Unite!”, the opener track, serving as an introduction of what comes next… This first song explodes in your face like a Heavy/Power/Speed Metal anthem, yeah!, and all of a sudden my faith in these guys is back!
Here is Martyr’s “Planet Metalhead” lineup:
Rop van Haren – vocals
Rick Bouwman – guitars
Geoffrey Maas – guitars
Vinnie Wassink – bass
Rick Valcon – drums
The song “Children of the Night” has speedy drums and galloping guitars, making this one very enjoyable, dynamic, just thinking of how good it would sound being played live! These good vibes can be noticed too in “La Diabla!”, another great display of high energy unleashed. Even the ballad “No Time for Goodbyes” has some kind of inner force in it! Van Haren vocals are strong and hitting some high notes, yes, this man can do that! His voice is, in general, very powerful, heavy, really good all through the album. In my opinion, it shines as it didn’t before.
“Diary of a Sinner” starts with a classic guitar riff and I’m really loving this! Special mention to some impressive screams, just… wow! And things get even better with “Church of Steel”, I’m just like “what happened to these guys with their two previous albums?”. Well, of course I’m only giving my opinion about Martyr music regarding my personal taste and my preferences in some styles above others, everyone will have their own…
There are still some elements of Thrash present in this album (very noticeable in “Fire of Rebellions”), but with “Planet Metalhead” the band has moved into a more classic sound. It’s not a back-to-their-roots but this album has something from that old school Heavy Metal combined with Power and Speed Metal that made me truly interested in them again. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it on repeat, it’s a 8,5/10 for me. Sílvia
8,5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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