MARTYR Album Review: “Planet Metalhead”

“Planet Metalhead”
Album Review by Iron Mathew


Martyr are a heavy/power metal band from the Netherlands formed in 1982, releasing five albums – ‘For The Universe’ (1985), ‘Darkness At Time’s Edge’ (1986), ‘Circle Of 8’ (2011), ‘You Are Next’ (2016), and 2022’s ‘Planet Metalhead’ – over a forty year career, which included a period of inactivity between 1989 and 2005. The bands sold out performance at the 2019 True Thrash Fest in Osaka, Japan, was recorded and released later the same year – simply titled ‘Live In Japan’.

The new album ‘Planet Metalhead’ is a ten song, fifty minute mixed bag of metal styles, swinging this way and that, covering every inch of the power, and heavy metal genres – with a minor foray into thrash territory. Opening with ‘Raise Your Horns, Unite!’ the band deliver a new anthem for every metal fan everywhere. Delivered at a blistering pace, Martyr scream for everyone to “raise your horns” and I for one already am! For ‘Raise Your Horns, Unite!’ is just that damn infectious – mosh pits too will be a frenzied mass of energetic lunacy! And with a song titled ‘Demon Hammer’, your expectation of a fast, furious, and aggressive gallop is not wrong! Straight outta the gate, ‘Demon Hammer’ is heavy, menacing, and a little fiery. ‘Children Of The Night’ picks up the energy level, fairly scorching forth at a high pace, displaying the traditional metal gallop and “foot on the monitor” vibe.

Switching gears, Martyr adopt a more mid tempo foot stomping flair for ‘Fire Of Rebellions’ – the kind of energy driven heavily melodic seeking vengeance kinda stomps that legends Judas Priest brought to the world of heavy metal. And what the….! OMG please no…! A ballad…! Really…! Hmph…! Now regular readers will know my dispassion for ballads on metal albums – they should remain in the realm of rock. However, Martyr cross borders to include a ballad here, and it simply drains away all the energy and oomph of the opening four songs. ‘No Time For Goodbyes’ is a mellow yet soulful ballad that would look really great adorning a rock album. And at nearly seven minutes in length I had been tempted to press the “skip” button, and move on to the next song! And now back to heavy metal with a bang – ‘Metal Overdrive’ a Dio-esque gallop, highly anthemic and overly infectious. And it’s also a second anthem (following ‘Raise Your Horns, Unite!’) for the worlds metal heads to take to heart and ramp up their affinity for heavy metal. Moving swiftly on, ‘La Diabla!’ brings a thrashy feel to the album – blistering pace and an aggression level not heard previously, Martyr crossing borders once more, but in a much more favourable direction.

Detecting a Judas Priest flavour once more – simply because of the way the bands singer Rop Van Haren screams the word “sinner” from the songs title ‘Diary Of A Sinner’. Boy does that resemble Rob Halford! ‘Diary Of A Sinner’ is heavy metal power at full tilt, infectious, overly catchy, and a bloody pleasure to listen to. A second six minute plus song ‘Church Of Steel’ opens with tribal sounding drumming, building to a crescendo with bold vocals, before all hell breaks loose and we’re galloping at a fast and furious pace. Keep those heads banging guys and gals, this one is pure heavy metal heaven. The final song ‘Wings In A Darkened Soul’ is a return to the ballad territory of earlier, but more mellow, more serene, and much more of a lighters in the air song.

Overall, a myriad of metal styles, ‘Planet Metalhead’ powers through fast, slow, heavy, heavier, and lighter songs.


Raise Your Horns, Unite!
Demon Hammer
Children Of The Night
Fire Of Rebellions
No Time For Goodbyes
Metal Overdrive
La Diabla!
Diary Of A Sinner
Church Of Steel
Wings In A Darkened Soul

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