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ALBUM REVIEW: Young Gods – Martyr Defiled

Lincoln-based band MARTYR DEFILED began to make a name for themselves back in 2010 with the release of their first album, No Collusion. It would be four years until their second album, No Hope No Morality was released in 2014 – to great acclaim within the scene. The band toured with well-established names in metalcore and deathcore such as ARCHITECTS, OCEANO and I DECLARE WAR before taking an extended break, for nearly three years, to work on their new album, Young Gods. Needless to say, MARTYR DEFILED are not a band to rush an album out. This fact may go some way to explain why Young Gods is so good – it is a product of three years of attention and craft.

Pinning a genre label to this album is difficult, initially it sounds like a brutal mix of hardcore, deathcore, slam and beatdown. Regardless of labels, throughout its 42-minute runtime, Young Gods shows the impressive range of techniques and sounds that MARTYR DEFILED have mastered. This sort of dynamic sound and range is exactly what the deathcore scene in 2017 needs – bands that break down the walls of expectation in the genre and bring something incredibly fresh, like Young Gods. In the band’s statement about the concept of the album, they explain that “It follows the story of a bitter old man accused of being a witch. He is subsequently buried alive and whilst dying he calls to the dark gods to curse his killers. He then reincarnates as a young god in possession of his soul, who then proceeds to cast a shadow over the world to match the darkness in which old man died”. This necromantic and dark theme is well represented in the sound of the album, with plenty of dissonance and downright evil vocals used throughout.

Sins of the Father opens the album and brings us straight into the action. It’s a powerful and confident deathcore track with technical lead guitar in the chorus contrasted with beatdown-sounding verses. This leads onto Bury Your Corpses Deep, a song sporting an intro slightly reminiscent of THY ART IS MURDER’s Holy War. However, this then progresses into a riff-laden metalcore song which strays almost into the realms of MALEVOLENCE, a band which I would not be surprised to see touring with MARTYR DEFILED in the near future.

However, the first knockout moment of the album is brought by the song At The Throne of Salem, the band’s first single released from Young Gods. The dynamic changing sound of the album is showcased well here in the transition from the riffs of Bury Your Corpses Deep to the insanely heavy beatdown deathcore and dissonance in At The Throne of Salem. After this, Their Souls Are Mine and Sow, and You Shall Reap bring back the riff-metalcore shown on the second track, whilst Through Famine, War and Scorn and What Lies Beneath stray towards more traditional sounding deathcore. Arguably, the album slightly loses its pace and originality towards the end, with the more standout tracks coming in the first half of the album. This is not to say that Reborn, Pestilent Bastille and Sins of the Mother are bad songs, however – all three of them continue the massive deathcore sound that was introduced in the first half of the album.

The guest vocal spots of MALEVOLENCE’s Konan Hall on Kneel and KNUCKLEDUST’s Pierre Pelbu on Carpe Noctem, another highlight of the album, are both placed with great effect around half way through the album, adding to the dynamic nature and atmosphere of both tracks. Overall, however, Young Gods is a fantastically heavy release for MARTYR DEFILED, and will undoubtedly bring in a whole horde of new fans for the band.

Rating: 9/10

Young Gods - Martyr Defiled

Young Gods is set for release on April 21st via self-release.

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