Released: 2000, Warfare Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
I remember discovering death metal for the first time, back in the early ‘90s, and buying a ton of new CDs. Symphonies of Sickness and Necroticism… (Carcass), Blessed are the Sick (Morbid Angel), Clandestine (Entombed), Testimony of the Ancients (Pestilence), Harmony Corruption (Napalm Death)…the list goes on and on. Back then, I was thrilled to death (no pun intended) with every initial listening, prompting me to put them on again and again for weeks after buying them. Today, albums like these are sadly few and far between. But listening to Warp Zone, Martyr’s second album, for the first time brought me right back to the days of yore!
Progressive and technical death metal is what this is. Martyr has nothing to do with the aforementioned classic death metal bands…rather, imagine Metallica’s And Justice For All mixed with Atheist and Death! Although I would not say Warp Zone is anything new in the realm of metal, it sounds so damn fresh! Every song on this album reaches out and grabs your attention. The songs are very well written, never boring, and ever-changing! Every aspect of the band has been improved since the debut album Hopeless Hopes. The guitar playing is more varied, technical, and catchy. Just when you think every riff possible has already been done, Martyr comes through with an abundance of new ideas that make you think “wow…how in the hell did they think of that?!” Stuttering riffs, full-speed assaults, clean passages, melody, harmonies, and disharmonies…this album has everything! Guitarists Daniel Mongrain and Pier-Luc Lampron make an excellent tandem that outshines many of the current metal acts out there today. But let’s not forget bassist Francois Mongrain! Thanks to superb album production, Francois can be heard frequently, which is a big plus when a band has a killer bassist like Francois. And following the same pattern on Hopeless Hopes, both Daniel and Francois lend their vocal talents to Warp Zone, albeit much improved! Their low death growls and screams accentuate the music and give even more variety to an already complicated album! And Gorguts belcher Luc Lemay makes a guest appearance on a few songs! (And get this…Daniel Mongrain is now Gorguts’ second guitarist! But no fear, he has not quit Martyr!) Drummer Patrice Hamelin makes his debut appearance in Martyr on Warp Zone, as Francois Richard left the band after Hopeless Hopes. Patrice ties the insanity together with a truly solid performance. Although not as devastating as Tomas Haake (Meshuggah) and Gene Hoglan (you know), Patrice comes from that same mind set: odd timing, abrupt tempo changes, jazzy cymbals, and unique beats. Overall, Warp Zone refuses to let go of your attention until the CD ends!
And as I mentioned, the production is top class! Warp Zone sounds very clean, clear, and still heavy as the earth! Even the packaging and graphics has been improved. And it doesn’t end there…pop the CD into your computer and behold the wealth of information, photos, and other treats!
I am just in awe of this CD! Warp Zone is definitely one of the best releases of this year so far! I highly recommend this album to every metal fan out there! Even though these guys are quite a new name, they set a great example for other bands, thanks to their professionalism and ultra-talent. Do yourself a favor and check Martyr out! Visit the band’s web site at: http://welcome.to/martyr.