Review Summary: A beautiful ass beating
Martyr A.D pulled together their finest album of their career with "On Earth As It Is In Hell". Unfortunately, it also turned out to be their last together after deciding to disband the group in 2005. Martyr had left quite the influence for the future with their gut punching blend of Metal and Hardcore. The traditional metal influence came in with fast simple riffs before paving in to crushing breakdowns and hardcore growls. Not original by any means, however, they played it well enough that there wasn't any need to evolve their sound. Realizing their goal to create punishing music, never once sacrificed heaviness for technicality. In this case, simple is better.
Andy Hart- vocals,
Tara Anderson- bass,
Karl Hensel- drums
"On Earth As It Is In Hell" had topped what Martyr had tried to accomplish over the years with a hard edged piece of music. In creating simple songs, they also managed to create extremely catchy metal core thanks partially to Andy's strong voice. Although nothing remarkable, his roars are loud and filled with aggression, demanding immediate attention as he bellows. Joel and Charlie didn't try to push their abilities to the limit and try to pull something fancy. They primarily threw around some groove riffs ranging from slow to mid tempo before heading into the breakdowns. A lot of bands not only over abuse the breakdown, they don't know how structure them into the music that well. Martyr knows how to write a song or two that feature an abundance of breakdowns. Karl plays the suited style of drumming that can be found in this genre. Plenty of drum fills and double bass is to be found here. Bass is not heard from for most of the disk. In a couple parts you can hear some heavy bass lines coming Tara. However, bass isn't really that important as the other instruments completely over shadow it.
Something that Martyr excels at during this album is the ability to combine heaviness with catchiness. The intro starts strangely enough with a piano playing some notes wrapped around a repeating riff. As it ends, the listener is rewarded with a mid paced number that gives a taste of what's to come. "American Hollow" opens with a thudding guitar riff and pounding drums before the verse enters. The verse's catchiness can be applied with the guitar work and Andy's vocal range. Lyrics are hard to comprehend but basically tell of frustration and negative happenings. There are a few cons to be found in this CD. There isn't much diversity to be found between the tracks. They all have a similar feel to them, as all the songs are chock full of breakdowns and the same vocal tone throughout. The length of the album might disappoint some people as well. "On Earth As It Is In Hell" clocks in around the 28 minute mark, distributed between 10 tracks and an opener.
It's a shame that Martyr A.D has left the musical world so soon after releasing such a great album. They will be missed. With the slight cons set aside, this is a great album that fans of hardcore and metal core, or any type of aggressive music in general will find themselves blaring constantly. Not a perfect album, but still great music capable of inciting a mosh pit or two in your living room.
Catchy riffs and powerful breakdowns
Too short, coming in at 28 minutes
Not adding anything new to the stale genre