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“DARKNESS SHALL PREVAIL”
Album Review By Iron Mathew
Holy Martyr are a heavy metal band from Italy forming in 1994, originally as Hell Forge, stabilising their line-up by the early 2000’s and releasing their debut album in 2007. Two more albums followed in quick succession, with the bands fourth effort, ‘Darkness Shall Prevail’, released in 2017.
‘Darkness Shall Prevail’ is a concept album based on the mythology of the world created by English writer and poet J.R.R. Tolkien. The album is solemn and gloomy, traits normally associated with the doom metal genre. Holy Martyr have managed to incorporate these traits into their signature epic fantasy power metal sound with ease to produce a very heavy, mid tempo paced album. ‘Shores Of Elenna’ is a short, chant style, crescendo building intro that leads into the opening song ‘Numenor’. Buzzing guitars and a stomping rhythm, ‘Numenor’ is a doom metal inspired song that is very heavy and powerful. A catchy chorus and the album will hook the attention of the listener. Acoustic led ‘Heroic Deeds’ opens with a faultless mellow vocal performance before a bang a crash and a wallop as the rhythm gathers pace and gallops along. Swinging from power metal to doom metal and melodic hard rock, ‘Heroic Deeds’ is an intriguing and swaggering journey.
‘Darkness Descends’ is a two minute atmospheric and spooky instrumental, that sets a dark and moody vibe for the buzzing guitar riffing ‘Taur Nu Fuin’. Slow paced and heavy, ‘Taur Nu Fuin’ drags its feet as it ambles along, seemingly without a care in the world. The vocal delivery is low, deep throated and very powerful. Clocking in at under three minutes in length, a second instrumental ‘Minas Morgul’ takes a progressive approach to its sound as it meanders its way through widdly guitars at a slow and mellow pace. For those of you that know of Holy Martyr and are expecting a bombastic blast of power metal, you will sadly be very disappointed. What you get is mid tempo, doom laden heavy metal with no chance to get your neck muscles moving to head bang furiously.
‘Witch King Of Angmar’ is an anthemic style foot stomp, with guitars that squeal and scream as it wanders on its way. Mellow passages and soulful vocals are spliced into ‘Witch King Of Angmar’ while midway through the NWOBHM influenced guitar riff is simply outstanding, as is the change in vocal delivery. A mild throaty rasp accompanies the heavier feel, and while the pace is still lacking for head banging to, ‘Witch King Of Angmar’ has become a cracking heavy metal song. The seven minute plus epic ‘The Dwarrowdelf’ is doom blended with ballad style vocals fused with yet another classic British sounding guitar riff. Just try counting the number of genres ‘The Dwarrowdelf’ wanders through on its journey to a conclusion…quite a few I think you’ll agree. Bringing the album to a close is the hardest hitting song on the album, ‘Born Of Hope’. With its majestic European style guitar riff of an opening, this is the signature sound of Holy Martyr. Energy levels have risen and this is power metal like it should be…catchy and infectious with a high chance of head bang ability.
Overall, mid tempo, moody and menacing doom inspired heavy metal, marking a departure from the signature Holy Martyr sound making this a surprising and intriguing listen.
Shores Of Elenna
Taur Nu Fuin
Witch-King Of Angmar
Born Of Hope
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